Tag Archives: Anhinga

New Anhinga Chick

A few wading bird pairs are just now hatching young even as some of the older chicks have fledged. I saw just one tiny chick underneath this female nesting Anhinga–you can just see the head at the lower left of the adult. Some of the other broods this year have had four chicks.

Female Anhinga and Chick
Female Anhinga and new Chick, Older chick behind

There may be more to come in this nest as the eggs may hatch over several days.

Female Anhinga and Chick
Female Anhinga and Chick

Anhingas feed their young by regurgitating food which the chicks actively retrieve by sticking their heads up the parent’s esophagus. Painful looking, especially when the chicks get bigger.

Female Anhinga and Chick
Female Anhinga and Chick – Feeding Time

Click on images for larger view.

Anhinga Ready to Go!

The male Anhingas have been showing off as they get ready for breeding season. The blue-green coloration around their eyes is very pronounced and I’ve seen them displaying their wings in dramatic poses.

Anhinga Ready to Fly
Anhinga Ready to Fly

This male was in a tree above the pond-side trail flashing his wings. I didn’t see any females nearby and he soon took off with a flourish.

Anhinga In Flight
Anhinga In Flight

He didn’t go far, landing in a nearby tree that already has a Great Blue Heron nest and several Great Egret nests.

Anhinga In Flight
Anhinga In Landing Below Great Egret Nest

March 10, 2019

Anhinga Just Out of the Water

I caught this Anhinga as he was climbing out of the water onto an Alligator ramp. This waterway is a canal along the edge of an old rice field impoundment that attracts many fish eating birds.

Anhinga
Anhinga

Anhingas feathers are not waterproof which helps them to swim and hunt low in the water but also means they have to leave the water to dry off.

Anhinga
Anhinga

You can see the gular pouch extending below. Similar to a pelican’s pouch, this skin between the beak and neck helps the bird “open wide” and swallow much larger fish than you might expect.

Anhinga
Anhinga

I haven’t seen an Anhinga do this while drying off and am not sure what he was up to. I waited awhile to see, but like many of the water birds these fellows can spend a long time doing nothing and I lose interest or get distracted by something more interesting.

Anhinga
Anhinga

Fall Colors

There is a touch of fall color in the “skinny tree” which earlier this year hosted one Great Blue Heron  and several Great Egret families. Now the tree serves as an occasional landing spot for a passing bird.

Anhinga Drying in Sun
Anhinga Drying in Sun

This Anhinga chose it as a drying off spot and executed a smooth landing.

Anhinga Drying in Sun
Anhinga Drying in Sun

He then turned his back to the sun and spread his wings to dry off.

Anhinga Drying in Sun
Anhinga Drying in Sun

Do Birds Play Chicken?

Alligators follow their instincts when they hear a splash in the water…lets go check it out.

An Anhinga had jumped into the pond and was swimming with his head up. First one then two  Alligators were in hot pursuit.

Alligator and Anhinga
Two Alligators

I was too far away to really see what was happening. In fact I probably shouldn’t have bothered with these images with the glare on the water, but it was like watching a train wreck. I’m not sure if this churning of the water was the two Alligators having a spat or if the bird had ducked under and the gators lunged.

Alligator and Anhinga
Alligator with eyes reflecting in the water

The Alligators backed away a bit then the Anhinga popped up between them then leisurely swam along as if he were alone. A minute or two later they all lost interest and went their separate ways.

Alligator and Anhinga
Alligator and Anhinga

Click on images for larger view. 

Tree Anhingas

On two recent afternoons several Anhingas gathered in this Cypress Tree on one of the rookery islands.

Anhinga
Anhingas in Cypress Tree

There were at least five Anhinga nests on the island this spring,  and probably more that I couldn’t see based on the activity. The two lower birds in the next image may be young from one of those nests.

Anhinga
Anhingas in Cypress Tree

A Little Blue Heron and two juvenile Great Blue Herons can also be seen in the wider view. Those two GBH had not fledged yet but sure were curious about the flights of other birds.

Anhinga
Anhingas in Cypress Tree

Three Disappointed Anhinga Chicks

These three chicks really look like Anhingas now, with the classic black and white “piano key” feathers on their wings.

Three Anhinga Chicks
Three Anhinga Chicks

Like the wading bird chicks in nearby nests these older chicks are spending more time interacting with each other as they wait for the parents to bring food. These three were so busy they didn’t even  notice when one of the parents was on its approach.

Three Anhinga Chicks
Three Anhinga Chicks

Just as well, because she kept right on going.

Three Anhinga Chicks
Three Anhinga Chicks

And going.

Three Anhinga Chicks
Three Anhinga Chicks, mother Anhinga passing by

I don’t know what made her abort her landing, but she circled around the tree for a second try and successful touch down.

 

Anhinga Feeding Chicks (3)

After the adult Anhinga finished feeding the one chick, the unfed chick started to pester his sibling.

Anhinga Chicks Feeding
Anhinga Chicks Feeding

He used the same chewing on the beak method all the young use on the parent when they return to the nest.

Anhinga Chicks Feeding
Anhinga Chicks Feeding

I couldn’t tell if the second chick got any food from the first one or if this was all show. The adult didn’t stick around to find out.

Anhinga Chicks Feeding
Anhinga Chicks Feeding