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Bird Darter (Anhinga Melanogaster)

auscraft

Henry Arthur Readford
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Common Name: Darter

Scientific name: Anhinga Melanogaster

Family: Anhingidae

Order: Pelecaniformes

Other Names: also known as Australasian Darter

Distribution: throughout Australia. Also found in the southern half of Africa, Madagascar, Iraq, Pakistan, India, south-east Asia, Indonesia and New Guinea.

Habitat: found in wetlands and sheltered coastal waters, mainly in the Tropics and Subtropics.

Field Notes: The Darter is a large, slim water bird with a long snake-like neck, sharp pointed bill, and long, rounded tail. Male birds are dark brownish black with glossy black upperwings, streaked and spotted white, silver-grey and brown. The strongly kinked neck has a white or pale brown stripe from the bill to where the neck kinks and the breast is chestnut brown. Females and immatures are grey-brown above, pale grey to white below, with a white neck stripe that is less distinct in young birds. The Darter is often seen swimming with only the snake-like neck visible above the water, or drying its wings while perched on a tree or stump over water. While its gait is clumsy on land, it can soar gracefully to great heights on thermals, gliding from updraft to updraft. It has a cross-shaped silhouette when flying.

Photo by Auscraft, 2011. My Yard, QLD

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Dusty

John McDouall Stuart
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Photos taken early morning at Gordonbrook Dam, QLD, Jan 2012.

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Darters can move over long distances (over 2000 km) when not breeding. They are ot affected by salinity or murky waters, but do require waters with sparse vegetation that allow it to swim and dive easily. This is why we see them in a wide variety of habitats.

Reference
Birds in Backyard: Online.
 

Mozzie

Richard Proenneke
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sun drying, nice shot of wingspan, photo taken local creek Illawarra Region NSW.

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