Alligators are the number one fear that new hikers to Florida have. True, they’re at the top of our food chain. But we’ll take an alligator stretched across the trail over a grizzly any day.
Identifying Florida species
Identification of Florida species via photos taken in Florida's public lands.
Surfacing from their dives to chase fish, anhingas, with their long necks, look like snakes at attention, which is why it is also called the snakebird, or water turkey
A giant among trees, the bald cypress is an imposing sight. Unlike its relative the pond cypress, it prefers growing along water in motion, such as rivers, streams, and sluggish swamps.
Black mangroves have shiny leaves and dark round seed cases. Their most distinguishing feature is their pnuemataphores, finger-like protrusions around the tree like slender, miniature cypress knees.
As seen at Orlando Wetlands Park
Juvenile black-crowned night heron at Robinson Preserve
The brown pelican is one of two species of pelicans found in Florida, the white pelican being the other. They have distinctive pouches under their bills and cannot be mistaken for the white pelican due to the size and color difference.
Buttonwood grows upland, on the land side of the mangrove community, tolerant of rooting in loose sand, rock, and dried marl.
The state tree of Florida, the cabbage palm (also called sabal palm) is an iconic symbol found in almost every habitat in Florida, although it is less frequently seen in upland areas.
An unusual-looking Florida raptor, the crested caracara is Mexico’s national bird. They are members of the falcon family, but their heads look very parrot-like—a red face and a thick curved bill offset their black-and-white plumage.