I first saw this bird sunning on a branch along the edge of Woody Pond at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge. It was not a familiar species to me and I initially thought it was a cormorant.
The Anhinga’s name comes from the Brazilian Tupi language and means devil bird or snake bird. The origin of this name is obvious when the bird is swimming. It swims with the body submerged and just ‘s long, slender head and neck the above the water so the bird looks like a snake ready to strike.
The Anhinga pictured above had just caught a catfish and was swimming back and forth with the prey speared on the end of its beak. At first, the fish was flapping about but the bird held it and waited for the wriggling to stop. The Anhinga then flipped the fish up quickly to release it from the beak. After a little juggling to re-position, the fish was quickly swallowed whole.
This was quite a process to watch.
North American Anhinga
(Anhinga anhinga leucogaster)
Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge
Townsend, Georgia, USA
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
420mm @ f/9 – 1/80 sec – ISO 320