Anhinga at CATIE

The Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga), sometimes called the snakebird, appears with some regularity in the Turrialba area, but since I’m up here in the mountains I rarely can see this rather unique species. North American birders will of course be familiar with it. It is often seen with wings spread, drying them after one of its fishing expeditions, or soaring on thermals with its long neck outstretched. In the water it submerges, sometimes almost completely, and catches its prey by spearing it with its long bill.

I found it this time hiding among the bamboo on the little island in the CATIE lagoon where the egrets and herons nest. Be aware that the bamboo has just been cut and cleared and now harbours far fewer herons than before.

Anhinga CATIE Larry

Here’s the same individual at CATIE on another day, doing his snake imitation; photo courtesy of Larry Waddell

The same brief trip brought excellent views of numerous Northern Jaçanas, with lots of juveniles and immatures, and of the other species so easily found at this location, namely Purple Gallinule, Boat-billed Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron and Green Ibis. One Yellow-crowned Night-Heron and an immature Great Blue Heron were also present.

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