90 cm; 1.4 kg
SEXES Similar. Sits low in water; this, with its long thin neck
(diagnostic) and straight dagger-like (not hooked) bill, has given
it the colloquial name 'Snakebird'. Lacks red bill and legs of ad
African Finfoot. Br M has rufous neck, blacker plumage, white cheek
stripe and prominent mantle plumes. Non-br M and F paler and
JUV Underparts usually cream or pale buffy brown.
STATUS Fairly common resident, sedentary; local movements
linked to water levels and food availability.
HABITAT Still and slow-moving freshwater, including swamps and
FOOD Mainly fish (usually speared with sharp bill), also frogs.
CALL Usually silent away from nest; occasional series of chack,
chack, chack notes.
BR Monogamous and colonial. Nest a platform of twigs placed in
tree or reedbed.
ALT NAME Darter.
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