Wednesday, October 26, 2011

African Darter

The African Darter is a common bird found across Eastern, Western, Central and Southern Africa with the exception of Somalia and the Namibian interior. However, a month ago was the first time I'd seen this beautiful bird in the Valley. It was also the first time I'd been out with my new [upgraded] camera. Sue and I were at the dam together at the time and between us we probably took almost 300 photos of this bird.

African Darter as photographed at the dam about a month ago. I love the way this bird turns its neck and head around to the back and then facing forward again, obviously checking for danger

The African Darter differs from cormorants by its long slender neck and head, and long pointed bill. The breeding male has a rufous foreneck with a white stripe down the neck. So above and below is a breeding male.
Creeping around behind the bushes around the dam, some of my photos had foliage in the foreground. I thought it gave the image a certain mystique. What do you think?

When swimming, often only the neck and head is visible, giving an illusion of a snake gliding through the water. In Afrikaans, this bird is known as a Slangvoel, (pronounced slung-fewell) which means Snake Bird for obvious reasons.
I was thrilled when I downloaded the photos of the African Darter. The quality was far better than bird photos taken with my old camera and although I'm not good with measuring things  (to my husband's chagrin, LOL!), I'd guage that the distance between photographer and subject was about 55-60 meters.
In this photo, the darker rufous neck and white neck stripe is clearly visible. You can also see that this bird has had his dinner - er - breakfast. His crop is full. Isn't he a beauty? 

The African Darter is found in lakes, dams and slow-moving rivers. It's rarely found in coastal lagoons and estuaries.

I hope you enjoyed the African Darter as much as I enjoyed photographing and posting about it. For more beautiful birds around the world, click here

Thank you everyone for your kind comments on my post yesterday. I have finished the first article and sent it off for publishing. I did my bit towards the dinner last night which went off very well. (Hopefully I'll post about this soon). I'm on my way to the Journalism Club this afternoon and have submitted my contribution to the school magazine. I will start on the next article tonight and hope to have it "in the bag" by Friday at the latest.

Hope you're all having a wonderful week.




  1. What a fabulous bird, Jo. I love the photos!

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

  2. I did enjoy your photos and information about the African Darter. Such an elegant neck ;-) so glad to hear your first article is done and that the dinner went well. By the time you see this comment, you will probably have finished your lesson with the Journalism Club.

  3. Jo, your African Darter sure is a good looking fellow. I love his periscopic neck! Gorgeous sequence of shots.

  4. Never seen such a bird ! and indeed it has a very long beak !

  5. He is a beauty. You and your upgraded camera have done a great job. It is good how you have got plenty of light on the bird even when there is bright sky in the back ground.

  6. Such a lovely bird -- and what a terrific perch it selected to be photographed on!

  7. Congratulations on your new camera Joo! Only 300 pictures? LOL! It sounds like your schedule is packed, I am glad your finding time for bird photography. The African Darter is a wonderful bird, a delight to see, thank you for sharing!

  8. Great information about the bird. It really does look quite a bit like a cormorant.

  9. What a handsome bird and so nice of it to pose for you on that branch. You got a lovely series of images. :)

  10. Your Darter is a beautiful bird and the photos are great. It looks a bit different from the Australian Darter which I see out here.

  11. HI Jo, great photos of your Darter. It is similiar to the Cormorant and the Anhinga. Wonderful photos and sighting. Have a great day!

  12. Wonderful post and photos! What an impressive bird! I'd love to see it swimming.

  13. I love the results you are getting with your new and up-dated camera! Beautiful bird.

  14. That is a stunning photo of the African Darter--great camera! and great camera work!


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo