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Bird of the month: African Darter

My Magazine 2023/01
1 min
The African Darter, also known as the Anhinga or Snakebird, is a water bird species found in sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar. They are known for their long, slender necks and sharp, pointed bills, which they use to spear fish and other aquatic prey. African Darters are found in various freshwater habitats, including rivers, lakes, and swamps. They are also known for perching on branches or other objects with their wings spread out to dry in the sun. In flight, they offend held their tails in a fan shape.

The male African Darter is a large water bird that can reach a length of up to 100 cm (39 in) and a wingspan of up to 150 cm (59 in). They have long, slender necks and sharp, pointed bills that they use to spear fish and other aquatic prey. The male African Darter has glossy black plumage, with a white patch on the lower back and a white line extending from the eye to the back of the head. They have a distinctive crest of black feathers on their head, which they can raise or lower depending on their level of excitement or aggression. The male African Darter also has long, pointed wings and a long, narrow tail. They use their wings to glide over the water's surface, searching for prey.

The female African Darter is similar in size and shape to the male but has slightly duller plumage. The female African Darter is generally brownish-grey, with a white patch on the lower back and a white line extending from the eye to the back of the head. They also have a crest of feathers on their head, but it is less pronounced than the males. The female African Darter also has long, pointed wings and a long, narrow tail, which she uses to glide over the water in search of prey. They also have a sharp, pointed bill like the male, which they use to spear fish and other aquatic prey. The female African Darter is often less conspicuous than the male, but they are known to be great hunters and can be observed hunting and diving for food.

Photos by Mark Goddard

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