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African Darter

African Darter
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2004-12-24
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon 1D Mark II, Canon EF 300mm f2.8 USM IS
Exposure: f/3.5, 1/400 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): CeltickRanger's favorite Bird photos -6- [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2010-01-26 6:28
Viewed: 6266
Points: 42
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Trawling through my files I am showing an African Darter on Lake Tana today.

The African Darter (Anhinga rufa ), sometimes called the Snakebird, is a water bird of tropical sub-Saharan Africa.

This species builds a stick nest in a tree and lays 3-6 eggs. It often nests with herons, egrets and cormorants.

It is an 80 cm long cormorant-like fish-eating species with a very long neck which occurs in both saline and fresh water, especially near mangroves. It often swims with only the neck above water.

The male is mainly glossy black with white streaking, but females and immature birds are browner. The African Darter differs in appearance from the American Darter most recognisably by its thin white lateral neck stripe against a rufous background colour. The pointed bill should prevent confusion with cormorants.

The African Darter is a member of the darter family, Anhingidae, and is closely related to American (Anhinga anhinga), Oriental (Anhinga melanogaster), and Australian (Anhinga novaehollandiae) Darters.

There are an isolated tiny population of the African Darter at the Lower Mesopotamian wetlands in Iraq. The bird used to breed there in breeding colonies with Pygmy Cormorant and Sacred Ibis and other Waterfowl.

Lake Tana (also sometimes called "Dembiya" after the region to the north of the lake) is the source of the Blue Nile and is the largest lake in Ethiopia. Located in the north-western Ethiopian highlands, according to the Statistical Abstract of Ethiopia for 1967/68, the lake is approximately 84 kilometers long and 66 kilometers wide, with a maximum depth of 15 meters, and an elevation of 1,840 meters. Lake Tana is fed by the Lesser Abay, Reb and Gumara Rivers and its surface area ranges from 3,000 to 3,500 km² depending on season and rainfall. The lake level has been regulated since the construction of the control weir where the lake discharges into the Blue Nile, which regulates the flow to the Tis Abbai falls and hydro-power station.

The lake has a number of islands, whose numbers vary depending on the level of the lake; it has fallen about 6 feet in the last 400 years. According to Manoel de Almeida (who was a Portuguese missionary in the early 17th century), there were 21 islands, seven to eight of which had monasteries on them "formerly large, but now much diminished." When James Bruce visited the area in the later 18th century, he noted that the locals counted 45 inhabited islands, but stated he believed that "the number may be about eleven." A more modern geographer named 37 islands, of which he believed 19 have or had monasteries or churches on them.

PaulH, CeltickRanger, anemone, nasokoun, siggi, maurydv, zulfu, yasemin, jaycee, Adanac, fyapici, jhm, boreocypriensis, Argus has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2010-01-26 7:07]

Hi James,
interesting looking critter this, i can see the Cormorant family resemblance! I would like to see it swimming with just it's head above water too :o) Good low POV and nicely composed, well done.

hello James

a beautiful photo of this African big bird, with very fine ow POV,
fine DOF and the way it is framed, you managed your camera
very well to obtain details of the shadows and the highlights,



Hi James.
Interesting capture of this bird.
Nice details and colors of picture.
Best regards.Alin.

  • Great 
  • zetu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 26 N: 3888] (16941)
  • [2010-01-26 7:51]

Hello James
Wonderful composition, natural colors and great details

Hi James.
Lovely capture of this pretty waterbird on a roch in water.
Details, composition and POV are wonderful.
Kind regards,

hello James,
fine POV in this beautiful scene, the colors in the body writes very well, beautiful photo!
keep photographing! TFS

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2010-01-26 11:29]

Hello James,
Very nice photo of this African Darter on this lava rock in the beautiful Tana Lake. Good pose, natural colours, sharpness and low POV (boat!) in an excellent composition.

hello James
very good sharpness picture
great details and beautiful colours
greeting lou

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2010-01-26 13:12]

Hello James
perfect presentation of this darter with great plumage details and very very nice pose of the bird.
Best regards Siggi

Hello James,
a splendid capture of this beautiful bird taken in a great pose on the rock, very good sharpness and very beautiful colours, excellent POV and composition
Best regards

  • Great 
  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2010-01-26 14:24]

Hello James, lovely shot with excellent composition, details and colours.
TFS and G's,

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2010-01-26 15:17]

Hi James,

When I saw the word Darter I was expecting a dragonfly. This bird is a most pleasant surprise - a first for me. He is quite beautiful with the wonderful wings, tail feathers, and long neck. I love the pose on the rock and the wonderful setting.


Hi James.. Nice picture with very good pose. I like the colors and palette-like legs...

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2010-01-26 15:48]

Hi James,another great surprise,is impossible to comment your pics always so interestings and perfectly taken..just my best compliments for your precious and very different work,have a nice day,Luciano

  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2010-01-26 20:04]

Hello James,
Outstanding point of view, great image. Thank you for sharing my friend.

Hi James,

Interesting bird, amazing picture. The light was managed very well by you. It is not easy to count right exposure time dark objects against lighted background. But this wonderful work shows us that you are what a skillful photographer. Bravo and TFS.


  • Great 
  • jhm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 893 W: 0 N: 507] (1853)
  • [2010-01-27 0:05]

Hello James,

Interesting capture of this bird, lovely profile with the beak toward above.
Good low POV and nicely composed, well done.
Sharpness and clarity are perfect, pleasant for look at.

Best regards,

Hi MF Siggi,
Hi Bro James,

Ecxellent capture of this cute Snakebird in a fine pose.
The POV/DOF, exposure, colours and composition are all wonderful.
TFS and have a nice day!


  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2010-01-27 1:34]

Hello again James,
Another jewel from your treasure.
The low POV allows us to see most of the features of this African Darter with excellent sharpness and colours and the quality is superb, especially when one considers that this is over 5 years old!
Thanks and kind regards,

Ciao James, great capture of lovely bird, I never see before, thanks, nice pose, splendid natural ambientation, wonderful colors, excellent sharpness and fine details, very well done, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2010-01-27 6:24]

Hi James,
you have shown very onteresting subject here. the bird is quite special to me. I hsve never seen it before. Very nice presentation with its natural surroundings and great sharpness.
Well presented in excellent view of the features.


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