Hamerkop

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Wading in shallow water, the hamerkop rakes its bill along the bottom in search of frogs and fish. Every so often, the bird flaps its wings to flush prey out of hiding. It also hunts on the fly. Spotting prey from above, the hamerkop dives down to scoop it up.

Boat-billed Heron

Boat-billed Heron (17) web

Roosting in the trees during the day, the boat-billed heron comes down at dusk to hunt.  Standing still in shallow water, the heron waits for small aquatic creatures to pass by and scoops them up with its wide bill.

Tri-colored Heron

tri colored heron web

The tri-colored heron’s long legs, long neck, and long beak are all good for wading in shallow water and catching fish and other small aquatic creatures. They roost in colonies and build stick nests in trees or bushes near the water’s edge.

Sunbittern

Sunbittern  (3) web

The sunbittern walks silently along dark forest streams in search of snails, dragonflies, or other insects. Sunbitterns usually live alone and threaten intruders by displaying with wings and tail spread. In flight it has been said to resemble a giant butterfly.

Scarlet Ibis

scarlet ibis

Ibises have distinctive beaks that reflect their eating habits.  The long, narrow, down-curved beak probes through the mud, finding small creatures that are hidden from view.  To afford greater protection against predators, the scarlet ibis gathers in large breeding colonies and roosts high up in the trees close to water.

Sandhill Crane

sandhill crane web

Like all cranes, sandhill cranes are “dancers”.  A male and female will show each other attention by leaping, bowing, running, stretching their necks, and flapping their wings. Sometimes they sing while they dance and sound very much like a trumpet.

Saddlebill Stork

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The saddlebill stork slowly wades through shallow water as it probes with its bill for fish and other underwater creatures. It quickly strikes to grasp or impale fish with its sharp bill. It often washes the prey in the water before swallowing it head-first.

Pink-backed Pelican

pink backed pelican

While floating on the water’s surface, the pelican spots a fish swimming below. It thrusts its head under water, scoops up the fish, drains the water from its pouch, and throws back its head to swallow its dinner.

Greater Flamingo

flamingo

A greater flamingo wades into shallow water on its long legs. Holding its head upside-down in the water, the flamingo swings its head side to side. It pumps water through the strainer-like edges of its unique beak to trap microscopic algae and small animals.

Double-crested Cormorant

Cincinnati Zoo

Propelled by its paddle-like webbed feet, the double-crested cormorant dives underwater to chase fish and snap them up in its hooked bill. Resurfacing, the bird flips the fish into the air and swallows it headfirst. Upon emerging, the cormorant stands with wings spread out to dry.