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Australasian Darter

An Australasian Darter in flight over a wetland

Scientific Name: Anhinga melanogaster

Size: 85 to 90cm

What does it look like?

The male Australasian Darter is predominantly glossy black with buff-cream streaks on the upper wing. The bill is yellow and sharply pointed, and a white stripe extends from below the eye to the first curve of the neck. Females are light grey brown where the males are black and the white eye-stripe is bordered with black. Young birds resemble the female in plumage but lack the eye-stripe.

Where is it found?

It is found throughout most of the Australian mainland, being absent only from the most arid regions.

What are its habitats & habits?

Sitting quietly in the water with its body submerged and only its head and neck visible, the Australasian Darter will sink silently under water to hunt for aquatic insects, crustaceans, fish and small turtles for up to a minute at a time. The Australasian Darter uses its ‘snake-like’ neck like a harpoon, and stabbing larger prey with its pointed bill.

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Front cover of Australia's Birdwatching Megaspots book showing a picture of an Eastern Spinebill

This species features in my book Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots

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