Darters (Anhinga species)
Darters are a group of waterbirds belonging to the family Anhingidae. They are also known as “snakebirds” due to their long, slender necks, which give them a snake-like appearance when swimming. Darters are found in warm, freshwater habitats throughout much of the world, including North and South America, Africa, and Asia.
Darters have long, slender bodies and long, thin necks that allow them to swim and hunt underwater. They measure around 80-100 centimeters (31-39 inches) in length, with a wingspan of approximately 1-1.2 meters (3-4 feet). Darters have a distinctive black and white plumage, with long, pointed bills and sharp, pointed tail feathers.
Darters feed primarily on fish, which they catch by diving underwater and impaling with their sharp bills. They are able to stay submerged for several minutes at a time, using their wings to swim through the water. Darters are also known to eat crustaceans and other small aquatic creatures.
Reproduction and Lifecycle:
The breeding season for darters varies depending on the species and location. They typically form monogamous pairs during the breeding season and build large, bulky nests in trees or shrubs near water. The female lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated by both parents for around 25-30 days.
After hatching, the chicks are fed and cared for by both parents until they are able to leave the nest, which typically occurs at around 6-8 weeks old. The young birds become fully independent within a few weeks of fledging.
Most species of darters are listed as species of “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to their wide distribution and stable populations. However, some species may face potential threats from habitat loss due to wetland drainage, pollution, and other human activities. Conservation efforts focus on habitat preservation, monitoring populations, and reducing disturbances to nesting sites to ensure the long-term survival of the species.