Anhinga - Anhinga anhinga

July 02, 2009

While at the Field Museum today I finally snapped some photos of a mounted specimen of an Anhinga, something I had been intending to do for some time. I've always been interested in the odd (and beautiful) Anhinga ever since I saw one snaking around in some pond down in Florida. It's body was completely submerged, with only its head and serpent neck slinking above the water's surface. Anhingas spend most of their life in water. When not in water they can be seen sitting on a branch, much in the same postition of this specimen, drip drying their feathers. Unlike other birds, Anhingas have dense bones, and feathers that can get fully wet. These adaptations allow them to acheive a neutral buoyancy in water. They will dive for prey, spearing fish with their razor sharp beaks.

I am planning on doing a large watercolor (30 x 40 inch) of an Anhinga, specifically of its back as I love the black and white plumage, and the way it drapes over the wings.


  1. Wow, how big is it? It reminds me of a cormorant, the way it holds its wings. Probably to dry them since, like the cormorant, its feathers are not waterproof. Thanks for the pics!

  2. hoowee! can't wait. gorgeous bird. you will do it justice.

  3. One more time, since I can't seem to write this without making annoying mistakes. I've never seen this bird before and it looks amazing. I wonder if the ROM has one, I'll have to ask. I did see a cormorant in the wild last year (well wildish, it was Calgary) and it was amazing to watch it diving in searching for fish and then zooming out again right at the edge of a waterfall to fly briefly and then dive again.

  4. They are pretty amazing looking, and are roughly the size of cormorants with similar foraging behavior. I've only seen them down in Florida. I don't think their range extends much further north of the Gulf of Mexico. This specimen at the museum is a bit faded, as their plumage is usually even more high contrast than it is in the photo.


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