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15 Birds Similar to Anhingas

Anhinga standing on a rail drying its wings.

The anhinga is a large webbed-footed water bird that can also be called a water turkey or even a darter. The oldest anhinga ever known was 12 years old, and this was an anhinga in captivity. The average anhinga weighs up to 2.5 pounds, but you would never guess it by looking at it.

They have a large wingspan and are prone to showing it off as often as they can, although they are not big flyers. The diet of an anhinga is typically found in the water, where they will find fish and amphibians. They also like shellfish such as crab and shrimp if they can find it.

They look like a snake to many, which is why they also have the nickname of snakebird. This is a beautiful bird with a long neck that depends on the water to survive. A waterbird is a bird that stays near the water, and there are many different types of waterbirds.

Learn more about waterbirds and the many different birds that are similar to anhingas here.

1. The southern royal albatross is an impressive bird that loves the sea and all water life like the anhinga

An albatross resting on the rocks.

The southern royal albatross is a bird that is as beautiful as it sounds. It lives by the sea, and it loves the sea. This is a bird that enjoys foraging for food in the water and rarely meanders onto the land, although it will if something interesting is there.

The royal albatross is a great swimmer, and can dive to search for food. It particularly likes saltwater and has a unique glandular structure to remove excess salt from food when necessary. The royal albatross is a fair-sized bird that is much larger than the anhinga, but its behavior is the same.

It can weight up to 28 pounds and live up to 42 years. Fish and squid are its favorite food sources like the anhinga, but it is able to enjoy an impressive diet of many different foods.

2. The great white pelican is larger than the anhinga but enjoys the water and has special features to help it catch its prey

A group of pelicans on the shore.

The great white pelican is a little larger than the anhinga and can live longer, up to 30 years old. It has a unique pouch in its gulls that enables it to catch food and enjoy the water at the same time. This pelican is very large and can weigh up to 15 pounds.

Like the albatross, the land is usually not very interesting to the pelican, and it will stay in the water and dive or swim to play, cool down, or eat. The pelican’s main diet is fish, which is a true bottom feeder. It enjoys diving for anything it can find in its habitat and specifically likes crayfish.

The pelican is beautiful and has an impressive water style that is fascinating to watch. Its presence is slightly greater than the anhinga, whose presence is still beautiful on its own.

3. The red-footed booby is a unique-looking bird with a similar size to the anhinga

A red-footed booby on flight.

The red-footed booby is a very colorful bird, but its colors are not typically where you would expect them. This bird has beautiful white feathers and bright red-webbed feet. And the colors don’t stop there.

The face of the red-footed booby looks almost painted on. Around the eyes are different shades of orange and sometimes pink, and this bird has a large and long blue beak. The webbing in their feet make them great swimmers, and they are another bird species that likes the saltwater waterbeds.

From there, they get their diet of squid and fish and other animals from the ocean to fuel their medium-sized body that is only two pounds heavy. Diving is not a huge strength of this bird, but they do like to swim for their food. The lifespan of the booby is over 20 years, and they serve their habitat well with both their beauty and their place in the ecosystem.

4. The kelp gull is a waterbird with a large diet to choose from but is comparable in size to the anhinga

A seagull standing on the rock.

The kelp gull is a bird that is another waterbird that functions close to the water for both habitat and diet. It is a size that is almost the same size as the anhinga, but it has a longer life span up to 22 years. It can reach several feet in height and weighs up to three pounds.

This waterbird does not like land too much either, anymore than the anhinga. It is also an omnivore and has a larger food supply and a larger taste range as well. The kelp gull is fond of eating almost anything, from amphibians to small animals.

It has even been known to feed off of whales.

5. The European storm petrel is a nester that is smaller than the anhinga with a similar lifespan

A black and white photo of petrel bird perched on a metal surface.

The European storm petrel is a beautiful bird that looks like a gull and has a swooping style of enjoying the water. The petrel also loves the land and is known to burrow in crevices where it sometimes finds its prey. The petrel is a small bird, but you can’t tell that sometimes when it is flying, swooping, and enjoying its flight.

This grey and white bird weighs between two and four pounds. It has an average lifespan of approximately 11 years, but some have been known to live up to 30 or 35 years. The diet of the petrel is zooplankton and squid, and uses its sense of smell to enjoy swooping onto the surface of oceans and lakes to catch its prey.

This bird also regurgitates its food to enjoy it all over again.

6. The grey heron is a beautiful bird with a beautiful song and is similar in size to the anhinga

A freshwater grey heron standing on the rock.

The grey heron has a magical voice to it, and it is the kind of bird song you long for after you have heard it once. This is a large bird that looks somewhat like a pelican, with long legs, and a beautiful grey and white feathered coat and a long pointed beak. The heron is a walker in the water, and it may well just take a walk and stand to eat its food.

It feeds on fish like other waterbirds and will go after what is available. For the heron that means fish, crustaceans, and sometimes even rodents. The heron is similar in size to the anhinga, but slightly larger.

Its long legs take it up to four pounds, but it looks larger if you can get close enough to see it. The heron has been known to live for over 23 years, but on average can live approximately five years.

7. The stork has a happy life as a walking waterbird and is comparable to the anhinga in behavior

A stork with a ring on a white background.

The stork is a waterbird like the anhinga, and like the petrel is another walking waterbird. Other than ducks, there are not many walking waterbirds, and the stork sort of stands out that way. It is much larger than the anhinga, weighing about 10 pounds on average.

This is a large white bird that seeks its food by walking and dipping, as opposed to flying and swooping like so many other waterbirds. The diet of the stork is almost entirely aquatic, but the stork can come on land to search for food. The stork will use its long legs to prance towards its food and then grab it with its very long beak.

While the beak of the stork is useful for its own survival, it would  never be enough to deliver babies to the world like the age old myths and fairytales have written.

8. The ringed plover is a sweet little bird that is smaller than the anhinga and almost walks on water

A ringed plover in typical habitat.

The ringed plover looks like a tiny little sparrow with a white body and brown feathers along its back and head. It also has black feathers around its eyes that make it appear as if the eyes are masked, like the raccoon. It is a sweet bird that weighs up to one pound with long legs that enjoys walking.

With a lifespan up to 14 years, it can live longer than the anhinga. Like the anhinga, however, it lives the standard life of a waterbird It enjoys smaller prey like bugs and worms and will go after some crustaceans. It uses a short beak to run and dig along the shorelines and prefers to get its food on land over water.

9. The avocet is a striking bird that is somewhat larger than an anhinga and fascinating to watch

An avocet actively foraging.

The avocet is a beautiful bird that really catches your eye if you get a chance to see this brown and white bird.  It looks like a large bird, but it isn’t and can weigh between one and two pounds. The illusion the avocet provides comes from its long legs that it uses to walk and prance around the shorelines and on the land when it isn’t digging for food in shallow waters.

The avocet walks with long legs and has a beak that is almost longer than its legs. Its diet consists of crustaceans and other bugs from the sand and water. When the avocet is mating, its brown feathers fluff up and turn a bright orange that serve as a signal to others in its habitat.

The avocet on average lives for approximately 11 years but can live much longer, brightening up the shorelines and making its water habitat a prettier place to be.

10. The European coot walks like a duck, and talks like a duck and lives the lifestyle of the small anhinga

European coot running on the water.

The European coot is a little bird with dark feathers and a bright beak that makes it stand out a little bit. But it uses its coloring to blend in with its surroundings to eat on water or on land and survive up to nine years. It is very duck-like, with webbed feet and short legs and a sound that is a bit of a quaker.

The bird can weigh on average more than two pounds, and its diet is somewhat lighter than the anhinga. The coot enjoys a variety of foods and is classified as an omnivore, getting its diet from both land and water. Bugs, berries, and nuts, in addition to some crustaceans or fish are what the coot survives on.

11. The wattled jacana has a stunning appearance but also enjoys the life of its fellow waterbird the anhinga

A wattled jacana in Amazonian region.

The jacana is very similar to the anhinga in lifestyle, but it looks nothing like the anhinga in appearance. Once you’ve seen a jacana you will never forget what it is and what it looks like. It is similar in size and diet though, and like the anhinga enjoys fish and crustaceans along the water.

But it also doesn’t mind plant life for food and will wander around its land shorelines and above the shoreline to gather roots or algae. The jacana is also called the Jesus bird or a trotter in its regions, which are typically tropical. With a lifespan of up to 7 years, the jacana is one of those birds that entertains and fascinates the human habitat around it if it builds its nests around humans which it often can.

12. The blue heron is another magical bird with a sweet song and a very pretty appearance

A great blue heron portrait.

The blue heron is much like the grey heron, but it stands out amongst most of them. Like the grey heron, it has a size that can get up to five pounds. It lives a little longer though with a lifespan of up to 17 years.

It doesn’t make a lot of noise, but when it does, its mournful cry makes you wonder about what is going on around it to make it sing like that. Most of its time is spent sitting on the water like a duck, but it will dive and swoop on occasion for its food. It survives on both water and land prey and can eat mice and frogs but will also search for fish.

Most of its hunting involves walking and searching. Then, this heron will use a long neck to coil and strike and can even catch snakes under the right conditions.

13. The herring gull is a waterbird with a similar size and habitat of the anhinga

Three herring gull on the grass.

The herring gull functions like the anhinga in both size and habitat. It is slightly smaller than the anhinga, weighing up to two or three pounds. It also has a shorter lifespan and can live for up to four years on its own, and has been known to live for as long as nine years in captivity.

The diet and habitat of this herring gull is much like the anhinga, and it might even compete with the anhinga if they live on the same water. This gull is like many and swoops for its food to get crabs for its dinner, but it will eat almost anything that comes from the water. This is not a friendly bird and has been known even to steal its food from other birds.

It will also feed off of large water animals that have died, like whales, but won’t typically pursue food that is bigger than itself.

14. The shearwater would be expensive to dine with, but like the anhinga it’s not always picky when it comes to dinner

A shearwater in Penobscot bay off the coast of Maine.

The shearwater is a seafood lover and will eat almost anything that is from the water. It enjoys its crustaceans and shrimp and likes to live in regions where it can access larger food systems, like an octopus. It is a smaller bird like the anhinga and weighs less than one pound much of the time.

Still, it looks like a seagull, and with its wingspan, it looks so much bigger when it is on a swooping mission in the water. The shearwater is white with brown and grey feathers along its wingspan. This interesting bird looks like a cross between a seagull and a duck.

It will sit on the water like a duck but fly like an anhinga and a gull. It is this calm and quiet spirit that gives the shearwater a lifespan that can reach up to 50 years.

15. The cormorant is a large bird, but like the anhinga, it enjoys a sweet water life

A cormorant perched on a branch.

If you see a cormorant in or near the water or sitting on a rock in the middle of the ocean, you might think it to be a scary bird. It could be, as this bird can weigh up to 11 pounds. It also lives longer than the anhinga, living up to 25 years almost exclusively as a waterbird.

The cormorant is a black bird with a  striking orange beak to it and beady blue eyes that would make you feel like you don’t want to mess with it. Unlike the anhinga, this bird is a hunter and it will eat a wide range of seafood and water creatures. It can be competitive when it comes to diet, but overall it prefers to swoop and eat.

If it feels threatened, this 11-pound bird is probably going to win. When it isn’t in hunting mode, the cormorant is another bird that is simply fascinating to watch. You can feel its power.