Genus II.--Plotus, Linn. Anhinga

The definitive website on wildbirds & nature

Birds of America

By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.


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Bill about twice the length of the head, almost straight, being very slightly recurved, rather slender, compressed, tapering to a fine point; upper mandible with the dorsal line slightly declinate, very slightly convex, the ridge convex, gradually narrowed, the sides sloping, the edges sharp, and beyond the middle cut into minute slender-pointed serratures directed backwards, the tip acuminate; lower mandible with the angle very long and narrow, the dorsal line beyond it straight and ascending, the sides sloping slightly outwards, the edges sharp and serrated, the point extremely narrow; gap-line ascending towards the end. No external nostrils in the adult. Head very small, oblong; neck very long and slender; body elongated and slender. Feet very short and stout; tibia feathered to the point; tarsus very short, roundish, reticulated; toes all connected by webs, the first of moderate length, the fourth longest, the first toe and the first phalanges of the rest with transverse series of scales, the rest of their extent scutellate. Claws rather large, very strong, compressed, curved, very acute, the third with parallel slits on the inner edge. A bare space at the base of the upper mandible, including the eye; skin of the throat bare and dilated, as in the Cormorants. Plumage close, blended, silky, the feathers oblong; scapulars elongated, lanceolate, compact, the outer web of the largest undulated. Wings of moderate length and breadth; third quill longest, inner secondaries elongated and resembling the posterior scapulars. Tail very long, narrow, of twelve straight feathers, having very strong shafts, and increasing in breadth to the end. Tongue a slight oblong knob; oesophagus very wide; proventricular glands placed on the right side in the form of a globular sac; stomach roundish, of moderate size, rather thin, with its inner coat soft and smooth; a large roundish pyloric lobe; intestine long and very slender; no coeca, but a small rounded termination to the rectum.

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