Anhingas are birds that can submerge themselves completely under water in order to catch fish. Their feathers are not waterproofed and do become waterlogged. This first page shows their water and fishing skills.
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An anhinga on the move in the pond. One of its nicknames is snakebird.
The bird submerges itself and swims under water to catch its meal.
[This photo is similar to the prior one except the trees and greenery surrounding the pond are visible on the water surface and the face of the bird rather than just the outline of its head.]

The bird is also nicknamed water turkey and this one really looks like one in this image.
[The head and tail feathers are above the water while the middle portion of the bird is below the surface as it swims from right to left. The tail feathers are fanned perpendicular to the water making them clearly visible just like a turkey would fan its feathers.]

I usually saw the anhingas spear the fish with their bills like this one has done.
[The bird is swimming from left to right. Its body is visible through the water. Its head is out of the water with a fish about 4 inches long stuck to the end of its bill.]

This was one of the few times I saw the fish clenched in the anhinga's bill.
[The bird is standing on the ground in the weeds with its neck and head visible. Clenched within its bill is a fish approximately 6 inches long.]

This female anginga came out of the water and beat her bill against the ground multiple times to remove the still-moving fish.
[The bird is standing on the ground in an open area. She has her wings out slightly to balance herself with the 9+ inch fish speared by her bill.]

Now the fish is loose, she can open her mouth to swallow it.
[The anhgina has her tail and wings at rest and holds the fish between the upper and lower parts of her beak.]

The plan is to toss it in the air, catch it head first in her open mouth, and swallow it whole.
[The fish is in the air with its head pointing downward and the anhinga is under it with her mouth open.]

This was one of many failed attempts to eat the fish.
I never did see her eat it.
[The fish is still in the air but falling beside the anhinga. The anhinga has turned her head but the fish is already below head level.]

This fish seems bigger than what this anhinga could swallow.
[The male (all black) anhinga stands at the water's edge holding with the tips of its bill a fish that seems nearly as long as its neck and definitely is wider than its neck.]

This anhinga used a much smaller tossing motion than the one in the other photos did to get the fish into its mouth.
[A close view of the head and upper neck of the anhinga shows the upper and lower fins of the fish as well as most of the body still outside of the anhinga's throat. The head and mouth portion of the fish are in the throat and gullet of the anhinga.]

Before completely swallowing the fish, the anhinga returned to the water. Apparently the throat and body can expand significantly because it swallowed the fish as one piece.
[Three photos spliced into one. The leftmost image is of the entire anhinga swimming from left to right with its bill widely open and approximately the last one third of the fish visible. In the middle image, the anhinga has its bill nearly completely closed and its throat and neck area are very very wide. In the right-most image, the anhinga's bill is completely closed and the throat is thinner while the lower neck is wider as the fish is being swallowed. ]

Continue to page 2 of 3 to see the anhingas drying their feathers.

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