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Australasian Darter

Life in the air

“Some birds give away their relationship with dinosaurs, we see that in the sleek and agile Wattle Bird, watching the Pterodactyl like Australasian Darter as it sat by the water, its wings and posture so similar to our imagined Pterodactyl”.

Peter and Andrea Hylands

July 8, 2024

You will notice that Darters swim very low in the water, oddly so with their long necks above the surface, long spear like beaks ever ready to catch a fish.

Out Australasian Darter (Anhinga novaehollandiae) sits on the bank drying its feathers in the winter sun. After calmly tolerating us taking numerous photos for twenty minutes or so, the Darter lifts heavily off the ground and flies across the estuary. The sea rolls in a few hundred metres away, the white tips of the waves visible from the river bank.

The Australasian Darter lives in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea as well as Australia, it is missing from Australia’s arid zones.

One of the most extraordinary things about this extraordinary bird is its neck, adapted for spearing fish. How the neck moves adds to our imaginings of a link to the dinosaurs.

We watch our Darter fly away and then we travel the road once more, this time off to watch something much larger, the whale migration.

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