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The male is mainly glossy black with white streaking and a very long neck, characteristic of other anhingas. Females are similar, but like juveniles, they are browner.
The pointed bill should prevent confusion with cormorants.
African Darters sit low in the water with their long necks and straight bills giving the appearance of a snake (hence the name Snakebird).
In breeding season the male has a rufous neck, darker plumage, white cheek stripe and prominent mantle plumes.
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