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Water Turkeys in Florida

A large, strange inky black bird with a snake-like head and webbed feet swims under water hunting fish in Lake Tsala Apopka. It is an underwater fishing expert and is skilled at spearing fish with its long, thin, pointed beak. It emerges from the water, swims to a limb, climbs up and hangs its soaked wings to dry in the hot Florida sun.

Called the water turkey for its ability to swim underwater and for its broad fan shaped tail, the anhinga is a large bird, standing three feet tall with a wingspan of nearly four feet. Anhingas live in sub-tropical and tropical environments from southern U.S. to South America.

Anhingas are birds of freshwater swamps and lakes. These birds nest in colonies, often alongside herons and egrets. Males collects and places large sticks in the forks of trees to attract females. An elaborate courtship display leads to nesting and the raising of young.

Anhingas are iconic birds of sub-tropical landscapes to me and I enjoy seeing these birds in our lakes and springs here in Florida.


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