Definition of anhinga in US English:



North American
  • A long-necked fish-eating bird related to the cormorants, typically found in fresh water. Anhingas spear fish with their long pointed bills and frequently swim submerged to the neck.

    Family Anhingidae and genus Anhinga: four species

    Also called darter, snakebird
    • ‘Around the lake we could see samples of most of Florida's native birds, such as osprey, anhinga, eagles, hawks, and herons.’
    • ‘One look at an anhinga's picture should remind you of the reptile precursors of birds!’
    • ‘Anhingas and Double-crested Cormorants, representing closely allied avian families, share a spread-winged behavior that is superficially identical.’
    • ‘Cormorants and anhingas live in freshwater wetlands, swamps, lakes, rivers, and estuaries (wet areas near the ocean where freshwater and saltwater mix).’
    • ‘Anhingas inhabit quiet bodies of freshwater and, while found statewide, are much more numerous in central and south Florida.’
    • ‘Cormorants and shags have been considered closely related to other totipalmate birds (tropicbirds, frigatebirds, anhingas, gannets and boobies, pelicans), which when taken together, form Pelecaniformes.’
    • ‘Anhingas are very similar to Cormorants. They are both diving birds and can swim quite a distance underwater to catch fish.’
    • ‘Easier to watch were the anhingas,who between long dives underwater swam with nothing but their snaky necks and heads above the water's surfaces.’
    • ‘The anhinga is a large bird with a long S-shaped neck and a long pointed bill.’
    • ‘Large wading and diving birds seemed to be everywhere: great white egrets, great blue herons, green herons, tricolored herons, roseate spoonbills, anhingas, cormorants, and jacanas.’
    • ‘A bird of southern swamps, the Anhinga is known as the Water-Turkey for its swimming habits and broad tail.’
    • ‘Anhingas have webbed feet and a beak like an arrow to catch fish.’
    • ‘Anhingas adopt a rather bizarre-looking pose for long stretches of time, remaining immobile and apparently oblivious even to passing boaters.’
    • ‘Ortiz and his field office director at the time, Fernando ‘Pino’ Rubio del Valle, pointed out several birds with North American relatives - orioles and anhinga - and an osprey, which migrates between North and South America.’
    • ‘The anhingas, which spent their spring and summer scattered here and there along the Texas coast and inland waterways, follow their instinct, drift south and gather together.’
    • ‘Anhingas are able to sink almost below the water's surface, leaving just the lengthy neck, slim head and long sharp bill above the water.’
    • ‘Also known as the "Snakebird," the Anhinga often swims with its body submerged and only its head and long slender neck visible above the water.’
    • ‘The evolutionary relationships of anhingas and darters remain unclear.’
    • ‘Anhingas in their more typical water environment usually are found in the water or sitting on a post or tree limb.’
    • ‘Most of the postcranial elements belong to continental waterbirds, including pelicans, anhingas, herons, storks, ducks, and rails.’


Mid 18th century: from Portuguese, from Tupi áyinga.