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Aves - Neognathae - Pelecaniformes - Anhingidae - Anhinga - Anhinga anhinga

Right Tarsometatarsus (Right Fused Element Consisting of Ankle and Middle Foot Bones) of a Anhinga anhinga (Anhinga)


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Species Description
The Snakebird (or Darter) is a large water bird found in the marshes and swamps of South America. “Anhinga” is from the Brazilian Tupi language, and means devil bird or snake bird; “snake bird” is derived from the bird’s method of swimming, where only the head and neck are above the water. The Snakebird’s backset legs make for awkward movements on land, but it is an accomplished foot-propelled diver. It is a piscivore, catching its prey with a long, sharp, serrated bill. However, unlike many diving birds, it is not a pursuit diver; instead, it swims slowly through the water, stalking prey. It is able to stay underwater because the Snakebird is not able to waterproof its feathers (like ducks). This lack of buoyancy aids in swimming, but means that the feathers get waterlogged; after fishing, the Snakebird must perch on land with wings spread, so that the feathers can dry out. Because of this need for copious amounts of sunshine, the Snakebird’s range is limited.
Skeletal Elements Available

Sternum (Breast Bone)

Right Tarsometatarsus (Right Fused Element Consisting of Ankle and Middle Foot Bones)
External Links
Animal Diversity Web
Encyclopedia of Life
Wikipedia Anhinga Page

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