Darter Of Vietnam – Anhingidae
Anhingidae, also known as darters, is a family of aquatic birds found throughout the world in tropical and subtropical regions. These birds are well-adapted to their aquatic lifestyle, with long necks, sharp bills, and webbed feet that allow them to catch fish underwater. The family includes four species of anhingas, also known as American darters, and one species of Oriental darter found in Vietnam.
The Oriental Darter (Anhinga melanogaster) is a large, dark waterbird that is found throughout Southeast Asia, including in Vietnam. It is a resident species that prefers freshwater habitats such as lakes, rivers, and swamps. The Oriental Darter has a distinctive, snake-like neck that it uses to spear fish underwater. Its bill is long and pointed, and its wings are broad and rounded. The male has a black body with white stripes on the wings, while the female is mostly brown.
The Oriental Darter is known for its unique breeding behavior. During the breeding season, males will build elaborate nests out of sticks and present them to females as part of a courtship display. Once a pair has formed, they will engage in mutual preening and bill clapping to strengthen their bond. The female will lay up to five eggs, which are incubated for around 27 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge at around eight weeks of age.
Like many aquatic birds, the Oriental Darter is threatened by habitat loss and pollution. Wetland destruction and degradation, as well as water pollution from pesticides and other chemicals, are major threats to the species. In Vietnam, the Oriental Darter is protected by law and occurs in several protected areas, including national parks and nature reserves. Efforts to conserve and protect these areas are critical to ensuring the continued survival of this unique and important species.
Population IUCN status: NT (Near threatened)