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African Darter

African Darter
Photo Information
Copyright: Paul Lees (PaulLees) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 548 W: 0 N: 1647] (9004)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2011-11-06
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D90, Nikkor 55 - 300mm Zoom, UV filters
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/2000 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2012-02-08 8:40
Viewed: 2899
Points: 34
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note

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,

This is an adult African darter, Anhinga rufa. Some authorities place this bird into the family, Anhingidae, whilst others classify them into the same family with cormorants (shags), Phalacrocoracidae. It is thought that darters and cormorants are sister taxa because they have very similar morphologies and behaviours, but these taxa can be readily distinguished by their beak shape: all darters have a long, slender, sharply pointed beak with serrated edges.

In total, there are four species of Anhingas, all closely related: the Anhinga or American darter, A. anhinga, the Australian or Australasian darter, A. novaehollandiae and the Oriental or Indian darter, A. melanogaster. The three Old World darters are sometimes lumped together as subspecies within A. melanogaster.

Some of you were mislead by this bird's kinked neck, which is the result of convergent evolution -- a situation where function defines form. Both darters and herons have an s-shaped kink in their necks that facilitates their ability to catch prey. That kink allows the bird to snap its head forward with lightning speed so they can stab fish with that sharp beak. This s-shape is supported by morphological specialisations to the structure of the vertebrae and musculature of the neck. It also gives these species the ability to confuse bird watchers because they fly with their necks kinked,


aljy, Jakkals, maaciejka, maurydv, pegos, pirate, paolo49, tuslaw has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

hello Paul
super good sharpness composition with great details of this bird
the colours and light are beautiful
thanks greeting lou

  • Great 
  • aljy Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 47 W: 4 N: 42] (593)
  • [2012-02-08 9:10]

hello pauly

superb focus! stunning composition.
wonderful frame.more than excellent job.
have a nice day.

Fantastic photo Pauly! The subject, the pose, the composition, the colours, the lighting and the sharpness are excellent.

Hello Pauly!
What a beauty! What a timing!Lovely blurring BG and excellent lighting and sharpness.The POV is special!Well done!TFS
Regards from,

Ciao Paul, great capture of lovely cormorant in fantastic pose, excellent sharpness, fine details, splendid light and colors, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio

Hi Paul,
A Great capture of the African Darter! Believe my or not but I have had the experience of seeing the stabbing in real life! My previous sport was angling and when sitting on the boat for 10 hours on Loskop dam during a competition you can not ignore the Fishing Eagle catching it's prey, the African Darter on a dry branch stabbing it's prey and many more. The details on your exposure is significant to what I have seen. Beautiful composition my friend. Well done with your exposure and notes!!
Best regards,

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2012-02-08 11:14]

Hello Pauly,
Great photo of this African Darter. Very beautiful colours and excellent sharpness. Attractive pose, a very good DOF and composition.

Hi Pauly,
excellent composition. Very good point of view. Great sharpness and details.
Thanks for sharing,

Hallo Paul,
a very beautiful capture of this splendid bird, very good sharpness and brilliant colours, excellent point of view and composition
Best regards

  • Great 
  • pegos Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 222 W: 0 N: 356] (1982)
  • [2012-02-08 11:37]

Fantastic capture, Paul!
Wonderful pose, excellent sharpness and beautiful light; great visual impact. Very well done!

Hello Pauly

WOW ! a great close-up shot of the African Darter
with very fine POV and framing, great focus
sharpness and details of the dark colored plumage,



  • Great 
  • pirate Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 799 W: 152 N: 1186] (7474)
  • [2012-02-08 12:35]

Hi Pauly
great! difficult to make a better presentation of this unusual bird, every single detail visible with great bg

Hi Paul,
very good sharpness and point of view. Many details. Great composition. Nice natural colours.

excellent shot Paul, the light and the photo performance is great!
regards Nasos

Hi Paul,
Great pose of this African darter. Great POV composition, wonderful colors and lightning.Sharp and clear.
Thank You.
Best regards

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2752 W: 280 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2012-02-10 14:48]

Hello Pauly,
I at first thought this was a Cormorant from the thumbnail image and was surprised to see it it actually a Darter. It looks very similar to the cormorant, but after reading your notes, I now see there is some distinct differances.
Love the pose and super fine detail you managed to capture. Color is true and natural and exposure is perfect. Great job on the photo and your very informative notes!!

Ciao Paul. Amazing playing of light on the bird in pose. Excellent details and sharp. Beuatiful colours.


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