Australasian Darter

Darter at sunset

Australasian darters (Anhinga novaehollandiae) occur throughout Australia, Papua New Guinea, and New Zealand with exception of arid regions in central and western Australia. I saw this individual frequently, almost every time I went to a certain spot along the Fogg Dam wall in the late afternoon. Darters forage by diving into the water to snatch up fish and arthropods. During the wet season they could be seen foraging constantly, catching the large catfish that swam about in a shark-like manner, with their dorsal fins piercing the water’s surface. The plumage of darters is less hydrophobic than those of most birds, allowing them to soak up water and become less buoyant when diving. For this reason darters often splay their wings out from perches, drying their feathers in the sun and wind.¬†Darters are also called snake-necked birds because of their elongated necks, possibly aiding them in hunting underwater.

Photographed in situ [1]

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Australasian darter calling
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Fishing during the monsoon rains

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