Pen and ink, watercolor pencil, wash
25 May 2010

There is nothing quite like watching an Anhinga fishing and afterwards drying its wings. It took me a while to learn what sort of bird it was that would sit so long with its wings spread out as if they were strung on a clothesline.

Also known as a "Snakebird" because it often swims under water so only its snake-like neck head is visible, the Anhinga nests mostly in Cypress swamps, rivers and wooded ponds. Most of these birds fish and feed in the Gulf along the Texas, Louisiana and Florida coasts.

The actual Anhinga beak and head are more narrow than in this drawing.
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Mineke Reinders said...

At first glance I thought it was a cormorant. Don't think I've ever seen an anhinga before, though I lived on the Gulf Coast of Texas for 8 years. Perhaps I confused them with cormorants then too... In any case, your drawing is beautiful Suzanne.

Suzanne McDermott said...

Thanks, Mineke. Anhingas are often confused with cormorants. To quote Kenn Kaufman "Looks rather like a cormorant when perched, but not in flight, when the long tail may be spread wide as the Anhinga soars high on outstretched wings."

Looks like the Double-Crested and Neotropic Cormorants live in Texas (the Double-Crested in many other parts of the country, too). But the Anhinga is very specific to Texas, Louisiana and the Gulf and Atlantic coastlines up to about Delaware.

I'm not that smart but am looking in a book!

caseytoussaint said...

It's a wonderfu drawing - are these gorgeous birds among those threatened by the oil in the gulf?

RHCarpenter said...

They aren't pretty birds but they are interesting - have seen them drying their wings on the shores of a river in Belize. You've captured him perfectly.

Suzanne McDermott said...

Casey! Everything in and around the Gulf is threatened (or already extinguished) by the oil. So that would be a yes. Glad you like the drawing.

You, too, Rhonda! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

It swims underwater? xDDDDD Sweeeeeeeet. I found my favourite bird. xD
The drawing is awesome~! I can never use pens to draw something nice. xD They're so permanent that I'd cry when I made a mistake. LOLZ.

Pat said...

Hi Suzanne,
Lovely painting and I always love reading and learning about new things like your description of this bird I had never heard about.