Repositioning Anhingidae Anhinga anhinga St Marks National Wildlife Refuge Walkulla County Florida

Anhinga – St Marks National Wildlife Refuge

An Anhinga appears to be Repositioning from an elevated tree stump to a rock at water level in Florida’s St Marks National Wildlife Refuge.


camera: Nikon D60 | lens: AF Nikkor VR 400mm f/2.8G IF-ED
focal length: 400mm | exposure: f/5.6 – 1/1250th second – ISO 400


Identification confirmation by colleagues:
Jennifer Fee, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology – http://www.birdsleuth.org
Stan Kunigelis PhD, Director of Math and Sciences Imaging Center, Lincoln Memorial University
David W. Steadman, Curator of Ornithology, Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida
Dr. Jerome Jackson, Professor Emeritus, Department of Marine and Ecological Sciences, Florida Gulf Coast University
Lynn Appleget, Appleget Associates, and Mary Huggins, Wild Birds Unlimited

Breeding Plumage Anhingidae Anhinga anhinga St Marks National Wildlife Refuge Walkulla County Florida

Anhinga – St Marks National Wildlife Refuge

A female Anhinga display Breeding Plumage at the St Marks National Wildlife Refuge in Florida.


camera: Nikon D60 | lens: AF Nikkor VR 400mm f/2.8G IF-ED
focal length: 400mm | exposure: f/5.6 – 1/1250th second – ISO 400


Identification confirmation by colleagues:
Jennifer Fee, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology – http://www.birdsleuth.org
Stan Kunigelis PhD, Director of Math and Sciences Imaging Center, Lincoln Memorial University
David W. Steadman, Curator of Ornithology, Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida
Dr. Jerome Jackson, Professor Emeritus, Department of Marine and Ecological Sciences, Florida Gulf Coast University
Lynn Appleget, Appleget Associates, and Mary Huggins, Wild Birds Unlimited

Water Turkey Anhingidae Anhinga anhinga St Marks National Wildlife Refuge Walkulla County Florida

Anhinga – St Marks National Wildlife Refuge

How do you begin the process of identifying an unrecognized bird?

As someone more familiar with birds native to the Appalachian Mountains, fowl of the Florida Gulf Coast are sometimes difficult to correlate. Initally, I described this bird from St Marks National Wildlife Refuge as appearing to be a wild turkey with a brown, furry egret-like neck. As it happens, my crude description was fairly close.

According to an elaborately detailed note from Dr. Jerome Jackson, Professor Emeritus, Department of Marine and Ecological Sciences, Florida Gulf Coast University, "This is a beautiful female Anhinga in her breeding plumage. It’s also known as a Water Turkey because of the band on the end of its tail (like a turkey’s tail); and as ‘snake bird’ because Anhingas swim underwater to spear fish and often only stick their head and long neck above the surface – appearing to some like a snake."

Anhinga Anhinga anhinga are of the Anhingidae family. That was the missing link in my search for identification. With appreciation to Dr. Jackson and five other confirming colleagues there is now a new listing in my visual index of ornithology.


camera: Nikon D60 | lens: AF Nikkor VR 400mm f/2.8G IF-ED
focal length: 400mm | exposure: f/5.6 – 1/1250th second – ISO 400