Anhinga melanogaster   Pennant,  1769 (Bird)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Aves

Image copyrights: Pbase

Size: 85-97 cm; Length: 71-79 cm.

Field Identification: A large black water bird with long snaky neck and spear like beak and white on the throat and neck. Swims dives and flies well and perches on tree.

Color: male largely black with greenish gloss; foreneck chestnut with a white lateral stripe; white streaks on scapulars, inner secondaries and wing coverts. Females and immatures browner with light brown belly. Bare parts: iris golden yellow with a brownish ring; facial skin brown yellowish brown; feet and legs brown to grey.

Voice: Usually silent.

Habits: It does not visit the sea, though it may be found in the tidal estuaries and creeks. Occurs singly, in twosor small flocks, rarely in large flocks, swims with submerged body with only snake-like head and neck protruding, which the bird turns from side to side, breeds gregariously in heronries from July to December.

Adult: Sexes alike. Like cormorant but with long slender snake-like neck, narrow head, pointed and small dagger-shaped bill and fan-shaped stiff tail. A white streak from eye to sides of the neck, white chin and throat, remaining head and neck velvety chocolate-brown, black above, back and wings longitudinally streaked and speckled with silvery-grey, entirely black below, including legs. Juvenile: Head and neck pale brown, lower back to upper tail-coverts dark brown, mantle narrowly streaked rufous and silver-grey, brown below, pale tail-tip.

Nesting: Season- January and February or from June to August according to the influence of monsoon on the different parts of India. the birds build in colonies in company with Cormorants and Herons, constructing rough unlined stick nests in clumps of trees, the same sites and nests are used year after year. Eggs- 3 to 4, elongated, pale greenish blue.

Synonym (s)

Common Name (s)
• Darter (English)
• anhinga (English)
• The Indian Darter (English)
• Panwa (Hindi)
• African Darter (English)
• Oriental Darter (English)
• Snake-bird (English)
• Pandubbi (English)
• Pamubatu (Telugu)
• Pambuttara (Tamil)
• Sarpapakkshi, Tirandaz (Marathi)
• Sarpagreeva, Surpgriv (Gujrati)
Economic Importance and Threats
Threats:  Anthropogenic
(Habitat loss, disturbance (at feeding grounds and colonies), hunting and pollution.)
Threats:  Anthropogenic
(In common with many other Asian waterbirds, it is primarily threatened by habitat loss (both degradation of foraging areas and felling of trees used for breeding), pollution, disturbance (at feeding grounds and colonies), hunting and pollution.)

Habitat:  Estuarine, Coastal
Trophic Level:  Consumer
Prey:  Fish


• Goa INDIA (Record: 00/11/1994)
• Orissa, Nalabana Island INDIA
• Orissa, Satpara INDIA
• Orissa, Barkuda INDIA
• Orissa, Bhusundipur INDIA
• Kerala, Kol wetlands (Lat: 10.33) (Long: 75.96) INDIA
• Kerala, Kol wetlands (Lat: 10.66) (Long: 76.18) INDIA
• Kerala, Vembanad Lake (Lat: 9.66) (Long: 76.55) INDIA
• Kerala, Vembanad Lake (Lat: 9.28) (Long: 76.31) INDIA
• Delhi, Okhla barrage bird sanctuary INDIA
• Nagaland INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Muthupet Mangroves (Lat: 10.33) (Long: 79.58) INDIA
• Orissa, Bhitarkanika INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • (2003) IUCN Red list of threatened species Available at -
  • Kumar, A; Sati, JP; Tak, PC and Alfred, JRB (2005) Handbook on Indian wetland birds and their conservation Zoological Survey of India, Dehra Dun 468 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Lainer, H (2004) Birds of Goa : A reference book The Goa Foundation, Goa 244 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • PBase Available at -
  • Nameer, PO (2005) Wetlands and waterfowl conservation in kerala with special reference to Ramsar sites kerala environment congress 2005 Centre for environment and development 97-112 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Whistler, H (1949) Popular handbook of Indian Birds Gurney and Jackson 542pp Available at -
  • Vernacular names of the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent Buceros, Envis newsletter: Avian Ecology & Inland Wetlands 62pp Available at -
  • Ali S and Ripley SD (1968) Handbook of the birds of India and Pakistan Oxford university press 1 1-368pp Available at - NIO
  • Manakadan R and Pittie A (2001) Standardized English names of the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent BUCEROS Envis Newsletter: Avian ecology and inland wetland 6(1) 26pp Available at -
  • Kumar A, sati JP and Tak CK (2003) Checklist of Indian Waterbids Buceros Envis Newsletter: Avian ecology and inland wetlands 8(1) 30pp Available at -
  • Balachandran S, Sathiyaselvam P and Panda S (2009) Bird atlas of Chilika Bombay Natural History Society 2-325pp Available at - NIO
  • Choudhury A (2001) Some bird records from Nagaland, north-east India Forktail 17 91-103pp Available at -
  • Sivaperuman C and Jayson EA (2000) Birds of Kol wetland, Thrissur, Kerala Zoo's print journal 15(10) 344-349pp Available at -
  • Deiva Oswin S (1999) Avifaunal diversity of Muthupet mangrove forest Zoo's print journal 14(6) 47-53 Available at -
  • Gopi GV and Pandav B (2007) Avifauna of Bhitarkanika Mangroves, India Zoo's print journal 22(10) 2839-2847pp Available at -

Page last updated on:2012-08-01

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