Birds of inland waters and marshes 

Most water birds swim after their food or dive or wade into the water for it. Few water birds live near fast-moving rivers because swimming, diving, and wading are difficult in a strong current. Lakes, ponds, and marshes are the chief freshwater habitats of birds. The birds nest on the shores of lakes and ponds and on high ground in marshes.

Typical swimming and diving birds of U.S. and Canadian fresh waters include the American coot, California gull, common loon, horned grebe, king rail, and many kinds of ducks. Among the ducks are the American wigeon, blue-winged teal, canvasback, and shoveler. Although some of these birds are excellent swimmers, a number of them feed mostly by wading at the edge of the water. Common wading birds include the American bittern, common snipe, great blue heron, and spotted sandpiper.

Some land birds have adopted ways of life that keep them near water. For example, the marsh wren, common yellowthroat, and red-winged blackbird often nest in marshes. The Louisiana waterthrush nests on the banks of streams and feeds on water insects. Belted kingfishers perch alongside bodies of water. Kingfishers dive after fish that swim near the surface and catch them with their bills.

Some birds of inland waters and marshes also live in saltwater environments. For example, the belted kingfisher, great blue heron, and green-backed heron often nest near the ocean and hunt fish in the shallow coastal waters. Most water birds of the United States and Canada fly south for the winter. Many of these birds make their winter homes near salt water.

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