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Unusual Birds in Venice, FL


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Here in Venice FL. Yesterday AM saw 4 birds (family?) perched in an oak tree across the pond. Too far away to get a pic. I've never seen these birds before & would like some help identifying them. They are large in size (initially thought they were eagles when viewed from the front). Head and neck (to shoulders) are a light dirty white (tawny) color. There is a distinct transition to body color. Head is smallish to rest of body. Neck is longish. Shape resembles that of a heron, but shorter. Bill is dagger like, yellow & is longer than the head. There are feathers on the top & back of head that can be raised or lowered like a Great Blue Heron. Rest of body is heavy looking & rounded when perched & viewed from the side. The body is a very dark brown or black. The wings are large & when displayed (like an Anhinga) show distinct blue, white & black markings. Legs aren't very long to body size. Feet appeared to be yellow(?). The birds flew off for the day & returned to perch in the tree again late day & overnight. I've looked through all the bird pics on site & elsewhere & cannot find these birds. Any ideas?

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Thanks for your suggestion, Melierax. I think I have found the bird on the National Audubon Society website under Anhinga | Audubon Field Guide. There's a beautiful pic of male & female together. I believe the birds in the oak tree are all female Anhingas. I have never seen the female before, only the male, which is all black. 

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Thanks, Charlie. Good to know that they could be immature males. I hope they all continue to visit the oak tree, so I can follow their maturation. Had a look at allaboutbirds website. Thanks for the link.

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