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Anhinga Swimming the Waters of Shark Valley, Everglades National Park | by D200-PAUL
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Anhinga Swimming the Waters of Shark Valley, Everglades National Park

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These birds are sometimes called "water snakes" because, as it can be seen here, when they swim on the surface, only their heads and long necks protrude through the surface thus resembling a snake protruding from the water. The Anhinga is also sometimes called a "water turkey". A look at that tail should tell you why.

Anhingas, like Cormorants, are equipped with webbed feet and feathers without oil (to help negative buoyancy) and pursuit their meals (fish) underwater. Unlike Cormorants, however, they capture their prey by skewering it with their sharp stiletto-like bills. After capturing its prey, the Anhinga brings it ashore and pounds it against a solid object like a rock or a log to dislodge the fish from its impalement. The Anhinga then re-positions the fish by tossing it in the air until the fish goes whole and head-first down the Anhinga's throat.

 

Anhinga Swimming the Waters of Shark Valley, Everglades National Park

 

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Taken on September 18, 2006