Spotting ‘Turkeys’ and ‘Snakes’ in the Swamp

By: Lauren Tjaden

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It’s a snake! It’s a turkey! No, it’s an anhinga!

It turns out all three are right.

Anhingas are large, dark water birds that love Sunshine State swamps. Because of their broad tails and swimming habits, they’re sometimes called water turkeys. They’re also known as snake birds for the way they swim, with only their long heads and necks sticking out of the water.

You can tell them by their long, thin necks, their long, thin, pointed bills and long tails. They also have silver patches on their wings.

Don’t confuse them with cormorants. Cormorants are a similar species, but they have shorter tails, shorter and blunter bills and don’t have the silvery bling on their wings.

Check out my picture of one of these beautiful birds — and see if you can spot one on your next Florida getaway.

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