Fancy Faces

Male anhinga in breeding plumage (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

5 May 2022

Some birds change their feathers for the breeding season. Others change the color of their skin.

In the non-breeding season, June to December, the bare skin on anhingas’ (Anhinga anhinga) faces is an unremarkable yellowish-brown that blends with their plumage and beaks.

Female anhinga in non-breeding plumage (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

But beginning in January their bodies transition to breeding plumage and their faces turn bright turquoise. Even the normally dull, brown-necked females have resplendent blue-green around their eyes.

Watch their fancy faces in this video from South Carolina.

(photos from Wikimedia Commons; click on the captions to see the originals)

p.s. If you thought you saw this post on Wednesday morning and then it disappeared, you’re right. It was supposed to appear today.

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