• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Oriental Darter - BirdForum Opus

Alternative name: Snakebird

Breeding Plumage in a Courting Pair
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Keoladeo National Park, India, July-2016
Anhinga melanogaster


85–97 cm (33½-38¼ in); A tall cormorant-like species

  • Very long neck
  • White lateral neck stripe


  • Glossy black overall plumage with white streaks

Females and immature birds are browner.

Similar species

African Darter and Australasian Darter


Photo © by Tribhuz
Chitwan National Park, Nepal, March 2017

From Iraq east to Pakistan, India and to south-eastern Asia, Malay Archipelago and Philippine Islands.


This is a monotypic species.
It was formerly lumped with African Darter and Australasian Darter.


Clean, shallow water in lakes, fresh and alkaline; and big rivers.


Often swims with only the neck above water.


Photo © by Joe Pan

They spear their prey underwater (mainly fish but also other aquatic animals e.g. water snakes, frogs, crustaceans etc.) as they swim.


They construct a stick nest in a tree; the clutch consists of 3-6 eggs. They often nest with herons, egrets and cormorants.


Listen in an external program Listen in an external program
Recording by Alok Tewari
Keoladeo National Park, India, Dec-2015
An individual sitting on a dry branch, in front, called twice as we were trying to capture perfect sunset.


Click images to see larger version


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved March 2017)

Recommended Citation

External Links