Friday, September 3, 2010

The 'Snake Bird'

The Oriental Darter (Anhinga melanogaster), sometimes called the 'Snake Bird' is a waterbird of tropical South Asia and South East Asia. It is a small family of only four species of cormorant-like birds, one in the Neotropics, one in Africa, one in Australia and one in Asia. The Anhingas chase fish and prawns underwater and spear them with thier beaks before eating them. Unlike the cormorants, the darters have straight dagger shape bill and very long and slender neck which makes them look very snake like. This is particularly very evident when the anhingas 'poke' out thier heads from the water - They have the ability to reduce thier buoyancy really very well so that only the head comes out of the water but because of thier whole body feathers are waterlogged, has difficulty running and flapping over the water to get airborne.. The anhingas have to spend a lot of time on low branches or logs spreading out thier wings to dry because of this.

This Oriental Darter photo is taken in an ox-bow lake along the Lower Kinabatangan River and important feeding and breeding ground for this Near-Threatened species. (IUCN Red List Category 2010)

Photo taken on 23rd of July 2010 using a Nikon D 300 + 70 - 300 mm VR lens at iso 400, f 8 at 300mm.


Borneo Naturalist said...

Beautiful shot!

[MarK LouiS BenedicT] said...

Thanks a lot.. :P

Friend of HK said...

Love to know more about wildlife in Borneo and look forward to seeing more.

[MarK LouiS BenedicT] said...

Thanks friend of HK.. I will be sharing more photos of Borneos wildlife.. Do keep visiting.. :P

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