Fun Australasian Darter Facts For Kids

Oluniyi Akande
Oct 20, 2022 By Oluniyi Akande
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Amazing Australasian darter facts which are informative and fun to learn.

The Australasian darter (Anhinga novaehollandiae) is a bird species endemic to Western Australia and Southern Australia. It is also found in New Guinea, North America, New Britain, south-east Asia, and Indonesia.

Some main characteristics or description of this creature include dark brownish-black plumage, a long rounded tail, chestnut-brown breast, a sharp-pointed bill, and glossy wings. It possesses a long, slender body.

The male bird has white silver grey stripes and spots on the back and a white stripe on the head and neck.

Female and young is grey-brown above including head and pale grey from below. Male has a white neck, while opposite sex and young have only a white stripe on it, which is less distinct in the juvenile.

The Australasian darters are closely related to the American, Africa, and Oriental darters. The most distinctive features of this Ave are its long neck and sharp bill.

It is a solitary creature, forming pairs only in the breeding season. The nest is built by both sexes mostly on tree trunks near water but males decorate the nest with green leafy material.

The male of these birds is known to display courtship to attract its mate with wing waving and twig grasping movements. As a carnivore, they usually feed on fish, insects, and shrimps with the help of its sharp bill.

Feeding involves swallowing larger prey head first. The young of these birds start to fly within 50 days of hatching.

For more relatable content, check out these common murre facts and sanderling facts for kids.

Australasian Darter Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Australasian darter?

The Australasian darter, or Australian darter, is a bird species endemic to Australia. It belongs to the family Anhingidae.

What class of animal does an Australasian darter belong to?

The Australasian darter bird belongs to the class Aves in Phylum Chordata.

How many Australasian darters are there in the world?

The population size of Australasian darter (Anhinga novaehollandiae) has not been estimated yet.

Where does an Australasian darter live?

The Australasian darter range map has been often found in South Australia, Western Australia, New Britain, New Guinea, the Lesser Sunda Islands, and the Moluccas. Though they are found in most of Australia, it is absent in the Great Victoria Deserts and Nullarbor Plain.

They can be found near the presence of water.

It is an unusual migrant bird in Tasmania.

It has been believed that the Anhinga novaehollandiae is one of the two most important Anhinga species that survive in Pakistan, India, Southern Africa, Iraq, Indonesia, New Guinea, and south-east Asia, the other one is A. anhinga lives in North America.

The A. melanogaster is further classified into three species- rufa that live in Africa, melanogaster that is found in south Asia, and the last novaehollandiae which survive in New Guinea and Australia.

What is an Australasian darter's habitat?

The Australasian darter habitat includes freshwater and brackish wetlands with over 1.6 ft (0.5 m) depth of water levels. It is usually found near fallen tree trunks or logs, stumps, and borders of inland saltwater sources with abundant vegetation for resting and drying its wings.

The salinity of waters does not affect the bird but the amount of vegetation affects the swim speed. This bird prefers open water bodies, especially for feeding and swimming. The Australasian darter, or Australian darter, constructs its nests on tree branches standing in water.

It transfers its site if the waters start to dry up. When there is no breeding season, they can move long distances of nearly 2,000 km or more.

Who do Australasian darters live with?

Like other darter species, these birds are known to forage alone. They also build their nest alone or in diminutive groups, rarely with shags or cormorants. However, they stay in pairs during the breeding season.

How long does an Australasian darter live?

The maximum life span of an Australasian darter or Australian darter bird is 15 years.

How do they reproduce?

The Australian darter ( Anhinga novaehollandiae) usually lives alone, forming pairs exclusively in the breeding or mating season. However, the breeding is inconsistent and depends on the water levels and the amount of food availability, but mostly happens in spring and summer.

Nests of these birds are generally found alone, but they make their nest with other water birds, such as ibis, and spoonbills. The Australasian darter male illuminates the nest site with green leafy twigs as a courtship display to allure a female of the same species.

Other displays include wing-waving and twig-grabbing gestures. Most of the nest material is carried by the male to the nest site, which usually is a forked branch of a tree standing in the water, around 11.48 ft (3.5 m) above the surface of the water.

However, both male and female darters finish the nest. They also take part in the incubation of eggs and raising of the young.

One Australasian darter female lays about three to five elongated oval eggs at one time.

The color of these eggs is pale blue covered with a chalky lime layer. After hatching, these young chicks are kept warm by providing shade of wings for about a week.

Both parents remain with the chicks in the nest, especially at night. Chicks are able to swim after around four weeks in the nest.

They start to fly after 50 days of their birth. Like other darters, Australian darters only stay together in the breeding season and then separate afterward.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of Australian darter (Anhinga novaehollandiae) birds is listed as of Least Concern by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). These birds have an extremely wide range of habitats. The population trend is also stable.

Australasian Darter Fun Facts

What do Australasian darters look like?

They are large, slim birds with a length range of 34–37 in (86–94 cm) and weigh about 5.7 lb (2.6 kg). They have a recognizable long snake-like white neck with a dull brown stripe.

Their body is also slim. These birds possess a long, rounded tail and sharp-pointed bill which is different from the cormorant birds with which it is often found.

Male darters have dark brownish-black plumage with a white line on the head and neck, whereas the female darters have white underparts. The upper wings in males are glossy black with white, silver-gray, and brown streaks and spots.

These birds have a breast of chestnut-brown. Female darters and chicks are usually gray-brown from the top, including head, white or pale gray from below, with a white stripe on the neck which is less distinct in juveniles.

When darters swim, only their snake-like neck is visible from the surface of the water. They can also be seen drying their wings on or near a tree or projection over water.

While their gait is tactless on the ground, they can rise smoothly to great heights on thermals, soaring from updraft to updraft. These bird species are closely related to the Oriental, African and American darters.

How cute are they?

With their glossy plumage, these birds are adorable and cute to watch.

How do they communicate?

These aquatic animals communicate through vocalizations. In the breeding season, a male shows courtship displays to attract the female.

How big is an Australasian darter?

The size of an Australian darter is 34-37 in (86-94 cm), which is 5 times bigger than a red-footed booby.

How fast can an Australasian darter fly?

The flying speed of an Australian darter is unknown.

How much does an Australasian darter weigh?

The average weight of an Australian darter is 5.7 lb (2.6 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for male and female Australian darter species.

What would you call a baby Australasian darter?

Baby Australian darter birds are known as chicks, nestlings or young.

What do they eat?

The Australasian darter's diet includes various types of fish, such as flathead gudgeon (Philypnodon grandiceps), Queensland mouth breeder (Glossamia aprion), goldfish (Carassius auratus), and Australian smelt (Retropinna semoni). It also feeds on numerous other aquatic animals, such as turtles, shrimps, worms, and insects, including moths, flies, water beetles (Dytiscidae), giant water bugs (Diplonychus rusticus), and water boatmen (corixidae).

This bird seizes fish and other prey with its sharp bill.

The fish is stabbed from underneath, jerked onto the surface of the water, and then swallowed head first. Smaller prey is swallowed instantaneously, whereas the larger prey is carried on a comfortable perch and then swallowed.

Are they poisonous?

No, Australian darters are not poisonous as they do not possess any poison-producing glands.

Would they make a good pet?

Australian darters are water birds that people will love to keep as pets in their backyard.

Did you know...

Australian darter is also known as a snake bird because of its snake-like neck.

How do you identify Australasian darters?

It is not difficult to identify Australasian darter birds. They have a long snake-like neck with a yellow beak and beautiful, glossy black and white plumage.

What adaptations do Australasian darters have?

Australasian Darter adaptation includes absorbent feathers which allow them to hunt on fish underwater.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our green heron facts and Australian pelican facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Australasian darter coloring pages.

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Written by Oluniyi Akande

Doctorate specializing in Veterinary Medicine

Oluniyi Akande picture

Oluniyi AkandeDoctorate specializing in Veterinary Medicine

With an accomplished background as a Veterinarian, SEO content writer, and public speaker, Oluniyi brings a wealth of skills and experience to his work. Holding a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Ibadan, he provides exceptional consulting services to pet owners, animal farms, and agricultural establishments. Oluniyi's impressive writing career spans over five years, during which he has produced over 5000 high-quality short- and long-form pieces of content. His versatility shines through as he tackles a diverse array of topics, including pets, real estate, sports, games, technology, landscaping, healthcare, cosmetics, personal loans, debt management, construction, and agriculture.

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