Fun Anhinga Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Nov 15, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Smriti Chaudhary
Anhinga facts are very fascinating.

An anhinga is a water bird of North America and is native to Florida. Their habitat consists of coastal areas in places like the Southern States of America, especially South Carolina. They have been named 'snake birds' because of the shape of their long curved necks.

It is also known as 'darter' and 'water turkey' in different parts of the country. This bird can sometimes be seen on the surface of the water stretching out its long beaks. It stays on the surface of the water to cool off.

They can also stay underwater for almost a minute. This bird is monogamous in nature and its breeding season occurs throughout the year.

Although they are rather reclusive and solitary creatures, these birds can sometimes be found in groups of two to three. An anhinga hunts and kills its meal, i.e. the fish with its long pointed bill.

Continue reading to know more facts about the Anhinga. If you enjoyed reading about the Anhinga, check out our articles on the pileated woodpecker and common Kingfisher.

Anhinga Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Anhinga?

An anhinga is a type of bird.

What class of animal does an Anhinga belong to?

An anhinga belongs to the class of Aves.

How many Anhingas are there in the world?

According to reports by Partners in Flight, there are approximately 83,000 anhingas in the world.

Where does an Anhinga live?

Anhinga's habitat is freshwater swamps and ponds. It has its northernmost range in the United States, from Texas to North Carolina.

However, this bird can also be seen further north in places like Wisconsin. Panama, Central America, Mexico, and Cuba.

Individuals from the northern parts of the United States migrate in March and April, staying until October, and then returning to South America and Mexico. These birds have a long range stretching from places in South America, like Ecuador to Columbia, Argentina to the east of the Andes, and Tobago and Trinidad.

What is an Anhinga's habitat?

This bird can be mainly seen in freshwater and coastal aquatic habitats. More specifically, they can be seen in lakes, lagoons, marshes, and mangrove swamps.

They rather like to stay in costal areas or islands that are tree-covered. They can also sometimes be seen hiding from danger in the water and perching and sitting in the sun on top of the trees.

Who do Anhingas live with?

Anhingas are rather solitary in nature. They can still be seen to nest in small groups, but other than that, they don't stay with others of their species. They rather can be seen with other birds, such as cormorants, storks, heron, or ibises.

How long does an Anhinga live?

An Anhinga has a maximum lifespan of about 16.4 years in the wild.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season of these North American birds happens throughout the year. These birds are monogamous in nature and use the one nest for breeding again and again.

The courtship ritual involves the male gliding and soaring and once the female reciprocates, the male marks a suitable place with twigs to make a nest. The male brings twigs and leaves and the female makes the nest.

The male might show a little territorial behavior to their nesting site. The male snaps his beaks and spreads his wings to ward off any other male bird that tries to come near.

The female lays between two to five eggs, and both the parents incubate the eggs in turn for about 25-30 days. Both the parents take care of the hatchlings until they are at least old enough to fly and find food on their own.

They are fed regurgitated food by their parents which consists of fish. They start to fly at about six weeks of age but they stay with their parents for a longer period of time.

What is their conservation status?

According to International Union for Conservation of Nature, the conservation status of this species stands at Least Concern. Anhingas are plentiful in their habitat, so they are not endangered.

However, their marine ecosystems are in danger due to harmful pesticides like DDT. It was discovered that DDT has an impact on these birds' reproductive process, and its prohibition in North America has helped them breed in the southern parts of the United States.

Anhinga Fun Facts

What do Anhingas look like?

The anhinga's tiny head appears to be nothing more than an extension of its long neck. Its hunting ability is aided by its long, sharp, pointed bill.

It has long wings that allow it to soar, and webbed feet that allow it to swim. Its strange structure of legs, on the other hand, is very well suited for crawling out of the water and scaling bushes and trees. The long tail is responsible for lift, steering, braking, and balance.

Males have a greenish-black plumage and silver-grey feathers on their wings and upper back. They also have long white feathers on their wings. They have black crests as well. Females have brown bodies and feathers with a light brown head and body, while juveniles are all brown.

How cute are they?

Anhinga birds are considered cute by some due to their long necks, vast wings, and colorful plumage, especially the males.

How do they communicate?

These birds communicate through body language and vocally. The males glide and soar to attract the female at the time of the breeding season.

They also threaten other males by wing spreading and beak snapping. Other than that, these birds mainly communicate through vocalizations. This species doesn't usually make that much noise, but at times they grunt, click, croak or rattle.

How big is an Anhinga?

The anhinga has a tiny snake-like body with an average length of 35 in (89 cm) and a range of 30–37 in (75–95 cm), with a 1.14 m (3.7 ft) wingspan.

How fast can an Anhinga fly?

The anhinga has an average speed during flight, but they can fly pretty high. When they are flying high above they may spread their tails wide. They also have webbed feet with which they can swim pretty well too.

How much does an Anhinga weigh?

an average of 2.7 lb (1.22 kg) with a range of 2.3-3 lb (1.04–1.35 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

The male of the species is called cock and the female of the species is called a hen.

What would you call a baby Anhinga?

A baby anhinga is called an anhinga chick or hatchling.

What do they eat?

Anhingas mainly show piscivorous nature, but these North American birds can also be seen feeding on aquatic crustaceans and insects. These birds of North America track slow-moving prey.

Their sharp bill and long neck help them to capture prey despite not being fast at swimming. They are good hunters and hunt for slower-moving fish, fight them underwater before striking with their extended necks and spearing their prey with their beaks.

Are they dangerous?

While anhinga's behavior is not dangerous, they tend to get aggressive with their kind at times. Both the male and female display the same behavior when they get territorial regarding their nests, showing aggressive behavior to shoo away intruders.

Would they make a good pet?

Anhingas are not suitable as pets. They are marine birds that spend most of their time swimming and catching fish in the sea. As a result, keeping one as a pet will be impractical.

Did you know...

Anhingas do not have any oil sac to oil their feathers to prevent them from getting wet like other marine birds. Hence, their feathers are not waterproof.

Because of this, all of their body feathers become wet as they come into contact with water, making it easier for them to dive into the water. However, this feature reduces their buoyancy, causes them to lose heat easily, and makes them unsuitable for flight.

They often spread their wings to absorb heat from the sunlight to dry off their feathers.

Do Anhingas mate for life?

Anhingas do mate for life. They are monogamous, breeding with only one partner. They form bonds that can last their entire lifespan.

Anhinga vs. Cormorant

Anhingas and cormorants might look the same but they have their differences.

While anhingas can fly but they need a certain space to glide to take up flight, the cormorants on the other hand can just spread their wings and fly on the spot. The cormorants have the ability to catch fast-moving fish as they are good swimmers, the anhingas can't do that, hence their prey is slow-moving fish.

Anhingas have a lower body metabolic rate, so they are not that comfortable in all kinds of climate, whereas the cormorants don't have that problem.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including the sea eagle and the frigate.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our anhinga coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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Fact-checked by Smriti Chaudhary

Bachelor of Technology specializing in Information Technology

Smriti Chaudhary picture

Smriti ChaudharyBachelor of Technology specializing in Information Technology

Smriti, a student data scientist, and coder, is pursuing her Bachelor of Technology at K.J. Somaiya College of Engineering. She has achieved top rankings in the International English Olympiad, National Spelling Bee, and PSAT/SAT English Section. She is experienced in content creation and editing for various academic institutions.

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