Family Darters (Anhingidae)

Least Concern

Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga)


French: Anhinga d’Amérique German: Amerikanischer Schlangenhalsvogel Spanish: Anhinga americana

Plotus Anhinga


, 1766,

Rio Tapajós, Pará, Brazil


Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. a. leucogaster (Vieillot, 1816) – E & S USA (North Carolina to Texas) and W & E Mexico through Central America to Panama, also Cuba; N population winters S as far as S Mexico.
  • A. a. anhinga (Linnaeus, 1766) – South America from Colombia S to Ecuador and, E of Andes, to N Argentina; Trinidad and Tobago.
  • Descriptive notes

    81–91 cm; c. 820–1350 g; wingspan c. 120 cm; bill 69–88 mm. Scapulars elongated and lanceolate; bare-part colours variable. Silvery grey more extensive on... read more


    Usually silent away from nest but occasionally calls from perches or in flight. Calls include a... read more


    Mainly still, shallow inland waters, especially lakes, slow-flowing rivers and swamps; less often... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly fish, including (in USA) Centrarchidae, Poeciliidae, Cyprinodontidae and Mugilidae; also amphibians (e.g. frogs, salamanders, newts... read more


    Seasonal in some areas, at any time of year in others. Nests found in Cuba between Apr and Aug. Often colonial, sometimes with cormorants... read more


    Sedentary across much of the range. However, birds from the extreme N of range, move S for winter.... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common in suitable habitat in S USA; fairly common locally in Colombia; little known of status throughout much of range, and solitary... read more

    Recommended citation

    Orta, J., Garcia, E.F.J., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2020). Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 21 February 2020).