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Oriental Darter

Posted by sylvester alphonso on June 2, 2022 at 5:38 pm
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One of the most beautiful waterbird is the darter because of its black shining color. It has a characteristic thin long face and neck, which is the only visible part of the body while swimming. Its snaky movement earns it the name of snake bird. It has an overall black body with fine streaking on the neck and a thin white stripe from the eye. It sits motionless on dead wood over water.
This species is classified as near threatened because of its population is declining moderately rapidly owing to pollution, drainage, hunting, collection of eggs and nestlings.
The oriental darter or snakebird is widespread in India from coastal wetlands to 300m in the Himalaya. It is also found at 700m in the periyar lake in the western ghats it is only in jheels with deep pools of 1-2 meters larger river and man made reservors.
Outside India it is found in Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myamar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam,Cambodia, peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia.
This fish eating bird inhabits shallow inland wetlands including lakes, rivers, where it hunts fish and frogs by pursuing them in clear water. It generally occurs single or in small groups, each one hunting independently. In good hunting grounds up to 100 are seen solitary or in small groups. It is an expert diver and feeds almost exclusively on fish caught by its stiletto shaped bill. It often swims with only the neck above water. The long neck and the pointed bill give it the appearance of the snake, hence its popular name is the snake bird.
It nests colonially with egrets, storks, and herons on thorny trees generally half submerged or near water. It makes a platform nest sometimes very close to other nest and lays 3-6 eggs which become soiled as incubation progresses. Chicks are blind and naked but soon develop down feathers which may persist even when almost fledged.