The family Anhingidae includes 1 species found in North America.
Anhingas are medium to large (80-100 cm long) aquatic birds with a long, slender neck, long wings and long, graduated tail. The bill is long and slender, sharply pointed, without a hooked tip. The legs are short and set far back.
Food is mainly fish, amphibians and insects. Anhingas dive and pursue fish underwater, propelled by the feet with the wings often partly spread; fish are impaled on the bill in a spearing motion. Fish are brought to the surface, tossed into the air, caught and swallowed head first. Anhingas often swim with the body submerged and head and neck above the water, slowly submerging to stalk fish, hence the nickname "snakebird".
Anhingas nest in colonies, often with cormorants or herons. The nest is a platform of branches, sticks or reeds, lined with leaves and stems of water plants; placed over water in a tree, bush or reeds, usually less than 2 m high. The female builds the nest with material brought by the male. Clutch size is 3-5 greenish or bluish eggs with a chalky coat, some with darker spots. Both sexes incubate 25-28 days, starting with first egg. Young are naked at hatching but within 2 days covered with white or buffy down. Young are able to climb about at 8 days of age. Small nestlings take fluid from the bill of adults. When larger they take food from the throats of the parents, or pick up regurgitated food. Young birds leave the nest at 5 weeks and can swim and dive if alarmed. Anhingas fledge at 7 weeks and are fed by the parents for some time after fledging. Age at first breeding is 1 or 2 years.
Anhinga - Patuxent Bird ID Center