African Darter (Anhinga rufa
The African Darter is a very large bird of 31" (79cm). It is dubbed 'The Snake Bird', because it is often seen swimming with only its head showing.
The male is a long, slim bird, with a kinked neck and dagger-shaped bill. It is mainly black above, with an olive-green gloss and black below, with elongated, white-striped scapulars and wing coverts. Chestnut coloured neck, with long white lateral stripes. Its bill varies, between yellow, ivory, brownish or dark grey. Eyes arew orange-red. Its breeding plumage shows a rufous foreneck, bordered by two thin white stripes, beginning below the eyes.
The female is duller, with pale brown throat and fainter white stripes. Eyes, as in male.
Immature is brown above and pale buff below. Habits
African Darters are usually solitatry. The use of gill nets has decimated all populations. It is now an uncommon bird of freshwater bodies. It is a strong flier, with a distinct kinked neck. Usually silent. Diet
African Darters ear fish and other aquatic animals. Resident
African Darters are seen in some of Kenya's Great Rift Valley lakes and in the Southern half of Kenya, particularly along lower Tana river. Extra Facts
African Darters, like Cormorants
, often perch with wings outstretched to dry, due to plumage not being fully waterproof. Photographs
Photographed at Kenya's Lake Baringo.