Anhinga Feeding

More “how’d he do that?”

A few days ago I posted photographs of an Anhinga flexing his neck in an unnatural looking way. This week I saw another Anhinga flipping a fish like a Benihana chef–he didn’t have the height but he had some other moves.

Anhinga with fish

I don’t know how he stabbed the fish, especially in that murky water covered with duck weed. But once he had the fish speared it was a mere minute before he swallowed the fish … whole!

Anhinga with fish

His end game is to get the fish facing head first down his throat so that any spines on the fish won’t get lodged on the way down. Flip, turn, turn, turn.

Anhinga with fish

He was an expert and at no time lost his hold on the fish. At the same time the Anhinga has to swim to keep afloat.

Anhinga with fish

There would be no getting away for this fish, stabbed completely through.

Anhinga with fish

I didn’t get any clear shots of the fish going down and it was over in an amazingly short amount of time. The Anhinga then swam to nearby platform, lifted out of the water and fanned his wings to dry.

Anhinga Drying

Click on any photo for larger view.

Magnolia Plantation Rice Field Pond, Charleston, SC.

12 thoughts on “Anhinga Feeding”

  1. Ellen, Hi! I’m putting together a “Here’s the Catch: Predator and Prey” post and wondered if I may include the header photo from this post? Cheers, Liz

  2. Nice blog and great photos! I initially noticed your “anhinga vs fish” series. That looks like a big fish (do you know what type?) caught and staring down the captors throat here!

    So the bird managed the struggle and gulped that fish all the way down okay? Does the fish put up a good fight, I wonder if it stands any slim chance of damaging (biting, sharp fins, wriggling etc.) the bird’s elastic gullet or even escaping it if eaten in that condition?! Sorry for all the questions, but thanks for the feedback/information! 😉

    1. Hi Kyle and thanks for stopping by and your comments. Sorry, I do not know what kind of fish it is and I have seen Anhinga eat all sizes and shapes. In the scenes of feeding that I have observed the fish doesn’t appear to fight. In most cases I think they are already dead from being stabbed through. If it were to escape I doubt it would survive.

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