Fun Oriental Darter Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Oriental Darter Facts For Kids

Arts & Crafts
Learn more
Reading & Writing
Learn more
Math & Logic
Learn more
Sports & Active
Learn more
Music & Dance
Learn more
Social & Community
Learn more
Mindful & Reflective
Learn more
Outdoor & Nature
Learn more
Read these Tokyo facts to learn all about the Japanese capital.

The Oriental darter is a water bird native to the continent of Asia and the Indian subcontinent. It is also called the Indian darter and is found near water bodies in countries like India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Myanmar. The Indian darter has many peculiar features including the long darting neck that it used to snap at fish. Aside from the neck, it also has a long bill that it uses to stab prey and swallow it whole. It is a very beautiful-looking mostly black bird, with white streaks on its upper wings. This bird is known to stand with its wings outstretched, under the sun to dry itself after swimming and diving. The Indian darter is found in colonies of several hundred birds, sometimes with different species like herons and cormorants. The Oriental is also a strong flier that lives for nine years in the wild. It is listed as a Near Threatened species by the IUCN.

For more relatable content, check out these common goldeneye facts and Australian pelican facts for kids.

Fun Oriental Darter Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Fish, amphibians, reptiles, insects, and vegetation

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

2-6 eggs

How much do they weigh?

2.3-4 lb (1,058-1,815 g)

How long are they?

Body length: 33.5-38.2 in (85-97 cm) Bill length: 2.8-3.4 in (7.1-8.7 cm)

How tall are they?

Wingspan: 45.3-50.4 in (115-128 cm)

What do they look like?

Dark brown, silvery-white, black, greenish-brown, yellow, chestnut, reddish-brown, white, and gray

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Humans, Habitat Loss, Pollution, Deforestation, Hunting, Degradation

What is their conservation status?

Near Threatened

Where you'll find them?

Marshes, Ponds, Streams, Lakes, Large Rivers, Bamboo Thickets, Deep Estuaries, Forested Margins, Islets With Dense Vegetation











Oriental Darter Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Oriental darter?

The Oriental darter (Anhinga melanogaster) is a bird.

What class of animal does an Oriental darter belong to?

The Oriental darter (Anhinga melanogaster or Plotus melanogaster) belongs to the Aves class of animals.

How many Oriental darters are there in the world?

There are only 22,000 individuals of the Oriental darter (Anhinga melanogaster) species left in the world.

Where does an Oriental darter live?

The Oriental darter (Anhinga melanogaster) lives in the continent of Asia, mainly in the Indian subcontinent.

The Indian darter is seen in the Indus Valley range in northern India and Pakistan. It is also seen in Sri Lanka, eastwards to Southeast Asia, in the Philippines, Sulawesi, Greater Sunda, and the western Lesser Sunda Islands.

The Oriental darter range also extends along the Nepal-India border and in the countries of Laos, Myanmar, Singapore, Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia.

The Oriental darter is not a migratory species. It is sedentary within its range and only those birds living in extreme conditions like drought will try to find a better habitat.

What is an Oriental darter's habitat?

The Oriental darter (Anhinga melanogaster) likes to frequent water bodies like lakes, large rivers, ponds, deep estuaries, streams, and marshes. This bird is mostly found in bamboo or tree thickets near these water environments. It is also seen in the margins of a forest or in islets with dense vegetation.

The Oriental darter is found at elevations up to 3,937 ft (1,200 m).

Who do Oriental darters live with?

The Oriental darter (Anhinga melanogaster) tends to live in big colonies that contain hundreds of individuals. Oriental darter birds build their nest and live near colonies of birds like herons and cormorants.

How long does an Oriental darter live?

In the wild, the average lifespan of the Oriental darter (Anhinga melanogaster) is nine years. The oldest individual of the species was 16 years old when it died in captivity.

How do they reproduce?

The Oriental darter (Anhinga melanogaster) species reproduce by mating and egg-laying. The breeding season can go on for several months or even the entire year according to the water levels. Egg-laying happens when the levels of water are high and there are abundant food resources.

The nest is built by both mates with sticks, leaves, and reeds, on a platform. The nest is reused by Oriental darter birds for more than one breeding season. Breeding can happen in loose groups or alone.

Two to six greenish-white or greenish-blue eggs are laid by the female and both birds incubate them for 25-30 days. Both parents feed the chicks, initially with regurgitated and semi-digested fish. Later the chicks eat solid food by forcing their neck and head into the throat of the adults. Fledging happens after seven weeks from hatching and sexual maturity is attained at the age of two years.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the Oriental darter species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature is Near Threatened.

Oriental Darter Fun Facts

What do Oriental darters look like?

The non-breeding adult of the Oriental darter (Anhinga melanogaster) species has a dark brown mantle, head, and neck. It also has conspicuous silvery-white streaking on the scapulars, upperwing-coverts, and the upper mantle. The rest of the feathers, along with the long tail are colored black, with a greenish and pale brown tinge. The throat is paler, has black mottling, and is mostly a creamy-white color. There is a whitish long line or stripe that extends from the eyes, right down to the sides of the thin, long neck. The bill is pointed, long, slender, and yellowish. The eyes tend to be yellow and the webbed feet and legs are blackish.

The breeding adult has a blackish hindneck, upper mantle, and crown. The foreneck is chestnut-colored.

The females look very similar to the males but have a duller appearance. The head and neck of the females are chestnut to black-brown and not reddish-brown. The upperwing's conspicuous white stripes tend to be more prominent on the males.

The juveniles have a gray neck and head and no white streaking. The rest of the plumage is browner than the adults. The black and white feathers in adults are buff and brown in juveniles.

The Oriental darter is often seen drying its plumage under the sun, with its wings spread out and its tail fanned.

How cute are they?

Oriental darters are magnificently beautiful birds. They have really strong and bold colors like black, gray, reddish-brown, and white. These gorgeous birds are often seen 'posing' under the sun, with their wings stretched out and their long tail fanned, making them look mythical and macabre.

How do they communicate?

Oriental darter birds communicate via displays and calls. While defending their chicks, they hop, hiss, and snap. The courtship displays include soaring and gliding. Other nest site displays include complex head, body, wings, neck, and tail movements as well as different postures.

The 'wing waving' wherein a male raises its wings and stretches its neck at angles intensifies when a female is close by.

The Oriental darter is mostly silent but is more vocal at the breeding grounds. An unusually gruff and somewhat nasal 'ok ok ok ok ukukukukuk-err rerr-rer-rub' or 'uk ukukukuk-errr uk-uk' are heard. These rattling and clicking sounds are heard both in flight and when perching. Also, prior to copulation, one or more bursting notes are heard.

How big is an Oriental darter?

The Oriental darter bird is 33.5-38.2 in (85-97 cm) long and has a bill length of 2.8-3.4 in (7.1-8.7 cm) and a wingspan of 45.3-50.4 in (115-128 cm). This makes it twice as big as coots.

How fast can an Oriental darter fly?

The flight of Oriental darter birds is powerful and similar to cormorants. They may be able to go at flight speeds of 33.6 mph (54 kph).

How much does an Oriental darter weigh?

An Oriental darter bird weighs 2.3-4 lb (1,058-1,815 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Males and females of the oriental darter bird species do not have specific names.

What would you call a baby Oriental darter?

A baby Oriental darter is called a chick.

What do they eat?

Oriental darters eat mostly fish but also amphibians, mollusks, reptiles, echinoderms, insects, crustaceans, turtles, snakes, newts, frogs, shrimp, sponges, leaves, grains, seeds, and nuts.

Are they dangerous?

No, Oriental darter birds are not dangerous.

Would they make a good pet?

These are wild birds that cannot be taken as personal pets.

Did you know...

The Oriental darter appearance is unique since it has a long neck that is usually visible above the water surface while swimming. Because of the long neck, it is called 'snakebird'. It can snap its long neck forward with speed and stab fish below the surface and swallow them whole.

What role do Oriental darters play in the ecosystem?

Oriental darters are host to multiple roundworm parasites and feed mainly on fish. Their impact on fish populations is unknown.

Is the Oriental darter endangered?

No, Oriental darters are not Endangered but Near Threatened. They are primarily threatened by habitat loss but also by hunting, egg collection, and pollution.

They are now protected in areas like Prek Toal in Cambodia, which increased populations for 241 distinct nest sites in 2002 to more than 6,000 nests in 2011. Proposed actions include the discovery of new colonies and monitoring of old colonies.

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 Sarus crane interesting facts and hamerkop fun facts for kids pages.

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

Photo by Savithri Singh

Written By
Dhruvit Patel

Read The Disclaimer

Was this article helpful?