African Darter | Anhinga rufa

The African Darter!

The African Darter is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Anhingidae bird family group which includes birds such as Darters.

Robert's Birding Information: African Darter

Adult African DarterThe description for the African Darter (Latin name Anhinga rufa) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Anhinga rufa can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 60 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 570. You will find a picture of the African Darter on page 576.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

This bird is known as Darter in the Roberts 6th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the African Darter between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition.

The African Darter is known in Afrikaans as Slanghalsvoel.

The African Darter has a height of 95 cms and weighs around 1400 gms. The head is coloured brown while the bill is coloured yellow. The Anhinga rufa has a grey coloured throat, black legs and a grey coloured back. The eyes are yellow.

The male Anhinga rufa has physical features that are slightly different from the female bird.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is brown.

Eyes are yellow.

Bill is yellow.

Legs are black.

Throat is grey.

Back is grey.

Photo's & Differentiating Between Male, Female & Juveniles

Please click the images below to make them larger:

Male Adult African Darter - Birds Of South Africa
Female Adult Same as above.
Juvenile Similar to above.
Non Breeding Plumage N/A

African Darter Feeding Habits ...

This bird has a specially adapted bill which helps it hunt for fish, crabs, shrimp and other aquatic animals in the water.

African Darter Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The African Darter is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 2 to 6 eggs and they are coloured white.

The bird builds its nest on the ground with figs, straw and leaves. The nest is placed under a bush to protect the young from predators.

The African Darter is found in the Southern African wetlands, riverine forests and moist grasslands.

The bird is at home in riverine forests and close to water bodies such as lakes, dams and streams.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The African Darter is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.

It is also seen in flocks occasionally.