by Max Barry

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by The Independent States of Scawtland Republic. . 6 reads.

Migrating Dispatch (Outgoing to Keverai) - Southern Snakebird (WIP)

Athara Magarat, it's Ainslie here. I'm looking to move the Snakebird into Keveraite canon. I'll let you know if I can't fit it in.

022: Southern Snakebird

Southern Snakebird

Southern Snakebird

Conservation Status

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: LinkAnimalia

Phylum: LinkChordata

Class: LinkAves

Order: LinkSuliformes

Family: LinkAnhingidae

Genus: LinkAnhinga

Species: A. serpentis

Binomial Name

Anhinga Serpentis
Saniya Jellari, 1775

The Southern Snakebird (Anhinga Serpentis) is a water bird of the warmer parts of the Isles such as the South Mesder Sea and the Southern Sea regions. The origin of the name snakebird is apparent when swimming: only the colored neck appears above water so the bird looks like a snake ready to strike. They do not have external nares (nostrils) and breathe solely through their epiglottis.

The southern snakebird is placed in the darter family LinkAnhingidae. Like other darters, the Southern Snakebird hunts by spearing fishes and other small prey using its sharp, slender beak.

Distribution and migration

While they mostly inhabit the South Mesder, South Argus and Southern Sea regions, southern snakebirds can be found all over the Isles in warm shallow waters. A fossil of Anhinga serpentis dating from the Late Oligocene to Early Miocene has been discovered in Mesderina.

Only birds that live in the extreme north and south of their range migrate and do so based on temperature and available sunlight. Southern snakebirds will migrate towards the equator during winter but this range is "determined by the amount of sunshine to warm the chilled birds".

Kettles of southern snakebirds often migrate with other birds and have been described as resembling black paper gliders.


The Anhinga serpentis species is a large bird and measures approximately 89 cm (35 in) in length, with a range of 7595 cm (3037 in), with a 1.14 m (3.7 ft) wingspan. They weigh on average around 1.22 kg (2.7 lb), with a range of 1.041.35 kg (2.33.0 lb). The bill is relatively long (about twice the length of the head), sharply pointed and yellow as are the webbed feet.

Most of the southern snakebird's body is a glossy black green with the wings, base of wings, and tail being a glossy black blue. The tip of the tail has white feathers. The back of the head and the neck have elongated feathers that have been described as gray or light purple-white. The upper back of the body and wings is spotted or streaked with white.

The female southern snakebird is similar to the male except that it has a pale gray-buff or light brown head, neck, and upper chest. The lower chest or breast is a chestnut color and as compared to the male, the female has a more brown back.

The hatchling starts out bald but gains tan down within a few days of hatching. Within two weeks the tan down has been replaced by white down. Three weeks after hatching, the first juvenile feathers appear. Juveniles are mostly brown until first breeding after the second or third winter.


In order to dive and search for underwater prey, including fish and amphibians, the southern snakebird does not have waterproof feathers, (unlike ducks, which coat their feathers with oil from their uropygial gland). Because the southern snakebird is barely buoyant, it can stay below the surface more easily and for longer periods of time.

If it attempts to fly while its wings are wet, the southern snakebird has difficulty, flapping vigorously while "running" on the water. The southern snakebird will stand with wings spread and feathers fanned open in a semicircular shape.

Southern snakebirds will often search for food in small groups.