Snakebirds

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Snakebirds

 

(Anhingidae), a family of birds of the order Pelecaniformes. The body of snakebirds is about 90 cm long. The head is small, with a sharp, straight beak; the neck is long and thin (19–20 vertebrae). The only genus Anhinga includes four species: A. anhinga, A. rufa, A. melanogaster, and A. novaehollandiae. The birds are distributed in the tropics and subtropics of the Americas (from the southern regions of the United States to Argentina), in Africa (south of the Sahara), Madagascar, southern Asia (from India to the Celebes Islands), Australia, and New Guinea. The birds are good divers; they swim submerged deep in water, so that only the head and neck are visible. They nest in colonies in trees or shrubs near the water. The clutch contains three to six light blue or greenish eggs. The fledglings are altricial and are hatched by both the male and the female. Snakebirds feed on fish and other aquatic animals.