The African Darter (Anhinga rufa) is one of Sub-Saharan Africa's most common of water birds. The African Darter also found in Iraq is a member of the darter family, which include species in the USA (Anhinga anhinga), South and South Eastern Asia (Anhinga melanogaster) and Australasia (Anhinga novaehollandiae).
Quite a large bird of some 80-92cm (31-36in) and weighing between 1-1.7kg (2.2-3.7lb) the African Darter is easily recognisable. With the males mainly having dark black glossy coats with some white streaking and the females as well as juveniles having a more of a brownish plumage, these colourings along with its thin white lateral neck stripe against a rufus background colour coupled with the extremely long neck and head, as well as the pointed bill should prevent confusion between the African Darter and cormorant species like the Reed Cormorant (Microcarbo africanus).
African Darters are builders of stick nest found in trees and often found amongst herons, egrets and cormorants the female lays between 3-6 pale green eggs. Incubation lasts about 25 to 30 days, by both parents, with eggs placed on the top of the large webbed feet for warmth.
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Further information on the African Darter can be found by reading the African Wildlife and Nature Photographs blog post on African Darters.
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