Harriet Smith Photography


"For The Love of Africa"

AFRICAN SAFARIS - Trips Of A Lifetime

Catch Of The Day

The African Darter is known for its very long neck and its unique swimming style. It gets the nickname "Snakebird" because it swims very low in the water, with just its long, snake-like neck and narrow head protruding above the surface with snake-like movements.  The African darter feathers do not contain any oil and do not repel water; making  the darter less buoyant to dive more easily. It  perches on a convenient rock or tree with its wings spread wide to the sun and the wind to dry off.

The African darter is fairly large, with a body size reaching close to 30 inches and three pounds. For the most part, these birds lead a sedentary lifestyle.   They mainly eat fish, frogs, crustaceans, or mollusks. These birds are able to eat fish and other foods from both saline or freshwater environments.  Fish are usually speared with the sharp beak as the birds swim underwater.

African Darters typically live in groups of 10-50 birds, occasionally with colonies reaching 100  birds. The breeding ground is normally on a nest platform constructed by the birds. The nests can be found in trees most commonly over water. It is a colonial nester, often sharing a site with cormorants and herons.  The female lays 3 to 5 greenish or bluish eggs that hatch after an incubation period of approximately 25 days.

Catch Of The Day
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