If you watch long enough it will come out and sit on a rock or a stump. It will spread its wings out, because it needs to dry its feathers. Most water birds have oil glands on their backs, near their tails, and can spread the oil over their feathers to make them waterproof. But the anhinga cannot oil its feathers.
Flying birds have air sacs in their bodies, connected to their lungs. When these sacs are full of air they make the bird lighter. There is also some air trapped between the feathers. When the anhinga wants to swim under water, with just his head and neck showing, he can let the air out of his air sacs and press his feathers tight against his body to squeeze the air out of them. When he wants to swim on top of the water he can fill his air sacs and raise his feathers to let air get between them.
Among birds, the anhinga is the best fresh-water diver. It goes down quietly and hardly makes a ripple. It finds its food in the water. It eats insects, frog eggs, fish and even small alligators. If an object is too large to be swallowed at once the bird spears it on his beak. Then he comes to the surface and flips it off, catches it and lines it up for swallowing.
The anhinga is a big bird, about 3 feet long from the tip of its beak to the tip of its tail. The feathers are dark, sometimes green with silvery markings. Wings and tail may be bluish black. The eyes are pink surrounded by green skin. It has a long, straight bill and a Z-kink in its neck. The tail is long, made up of 12 wedge-shaped quill feathers. It has webbed feet.
Some anhingas live in Asia, in Africa and in
This strange bird goes by several names. The Indians who live near the Amazon River in