Anhinga vs. Cormorant… Two Fishing Styles

Both the anhinga and the cormorant are water birds. They each feed by swimming under the water and chasing after fish using their big flipper feet to rapidly propel them along.

But once a fish is caught, that is where the similarity ends. I took these anhinga photos this past weekend and the cormorant photos today, both in the salt marsh right around the same areas in fact.

The anhinga uses the spear fishing method. It will spear a fish on the end of it’s very sharp pointed bill and pop his head up out of the water with the fish still stuck there. But now the anhinga has to get the fish off it’s bill in order to eat it. This is most often done by flipping the fish straight up and off the bill and then catching it in mid air  head first on the way down. This is one of the all time best, most interesting and exciting bird fishing actions in my view and always a thrill to see.

The cormorant on the other hand has a more pedestrian approach to fishing. It goes with what I call the ‘grab and gulp’ method. Cormorants simply grab the fish and hold it in place vice grip style using that stout and strong bill with a hooked end, before also popping up it’s head to finish the task. A slight toss back of the head with one quick gulp and our fishy meal is down the hatch. Nothing fancy, but sure gets the job done. Actually the cormorant may utilize the more efficient method since it requires less action which leaves time for more eating.

But I’m giving the edge to the anhinga for style, and as a spectator I have to admire the show. 🙂





9 thoughts on “Anhinga vs. Cormorant… Two Fishing Styles

    • Hey Mike! These guys were catching and eating fish of all sizes, even some tiny ones. I don’t think they care much as long as they get full which they sure were doing that!
      Thanks for looking. 🙂

  1. Good pictures. It is believed that the anhinga rather stalks their preys rather than pursuit, most of the fish are speared by the side 😉

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