The Limpkin – Created Special..

Limpkin (Aramus guarauna) Imm resting by Lee Lake Morton taken 10-21-11

Limpkin (Aramus guarauna) Imm resting by Lee Lake Morton taken 10-21-11

The Limpkin – Created Special.. – by a j mithra

The Limpkin is the only species in the family Aramidae and has no close relatives.

However, within the Gruiformes, similarities to both cranes and rails have long been noted.

The name Limpkin comes from the slightly awkward walk of the species. However, Limpkins are in fact strong runners. Limpkins are good swimmers and slow but strong fliers. The Limpkin flies like a crane, with short concave wings slowly flapping, neck extended, and legs dangling….

  • Your life maybe may be awkward and may not look pleasing to the others…
  • People may judge you by your looks, but still, you are precious for GOD…
  • Look at these birds, even though they are awkward walkers, they still are good swimmers and strong fliers..
  • You may be awkward in something, but, with GOD you are beautiful..
  • Your duty is to find out in what way you are special at…
  • David was just a shepherd boy but he brought down giant Goliath, a professional soldier, with just a pebble…
  • His brothers saw him as an awkward shepherd, but GOD saw him as a worthy winner..

“…….: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” (I Samuel 16:7)

At night, Limpkins tend to roost either in shrubs or in the tops of dead trees. Most Limpkins are not migratory, spending the entire year in one location. However, some South American Limpkin populations move between a wet season habitat and a dry season habitat.

Limpkin (Aramus guarauna) Yawning by Lee Lake Morton

Limpkin (Aramus guarauna) Yawning by Lee Lake Morton

Most Limpkins are solitary, they live alone. In some cases, limpkins may be found in pairs, usually male and female breeding partners, or in small groups. The Limpkin is found along borders of wooded streams, bayous, and sloughs, or in open marshes and sometimes in uplands, where it runs through brush with long strides or perches on small trees. Territorial males engage in aggressive, ritualistic confrontations that include charging, retreating, and loud calling.

Limpkins build their nests near water; most often, nests are built either on the ground, hidden in dense vegetation, or up in a tree. In some cases, nests may be 20 feet (6 meters) off the ground or even higher. Nests are built from reeds and grass and lined with softer plant material. Both male and female limpkins participate in all phases of reproductive activity, including nest-building, incubating the eggs, and feeding and caring for the young once they hatch. Limpkin chicks are able to leave the nest about one day after hatching, and follow one of the parents around until they become independent.

Apple Snail - (Ampullariidae, common name the apple snails) WikiC

Apple Snail - (Ampullariidae, common name the apple snails) WikiC

It feeds on mollusks, crustaceans, aquatic insects, frogs, and worms. The apple snail is important to the Limpkin’s diet.

Limpkins have several physical adaptations that help it deal with this prey. Since the apple snail’s shell curves to the right, Limpkins were created with a bill that also curves to the right, making it possible to insert the bill into the snail shell. The tip of the upper beak is sharpened to allow Limpkins to cut the snail out of the shell. Finally, Limpkins have a small gap in the bill which helps them carry and handle snails…

The favorite food of these birds is the apple snails whose shells curve to the right…

Limpkin (Aramus guarauna) with Apple Snail - ©WikiC

Limpkin (Aramus guarauna) with Apple Snail - ©WikiC

God loves these birds so much that he gives a bill which also curves to the right and has sharpened the tip of the upper beak to cut the snail out of the shell so that these birds may enjoy their favorite food..

This is an awesome example of how much care, GOD has taken for very little but very vital features needed for the survival of these birds, while creating them…

  • If GOD can take so much care to design the features of a small bird,
  • Don’t you think that HE would’ve already created all that you need for your survival?

“Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings: “(Jeremiah 32:19)

We at lees bird pray for all those visit us that GOD may,

Grant thee according to thine own heart, and fulfil all thy counsel. (Psalm 29:4)

Have a blessed day!

Your’s in YESHUA,
a j mithra

Please visit us at: Crosstree

Lee’s Addition:

Limpkin (Aramus guarauna pictus) baby taken 9-12-11 by Lee

Limpkin (Aramus guarauna pictus) baby taken 9-12-11 by Lee

Limpkins belong to the Limpkin – Aramidae Family of the Gruiformes Order. There are four subspecies in the Aramus genus.

Limpkin (Aramus guarauna) by Dan at Saddle Creek
____ (Aramus guarauna pictus) found in Florida (USA), Cuba, Jamaica – baby by Lee
____ (Aramus guarauna elucus) found in Hispaniola, Puerto Rico
____ (Aramus guarauna dolosus) found in se Mexico to Panama – IBC
____ (Aramus guarauna guarauna) found in n South America to Paraguay and Argentina – IBC

See Also:

ajmithra’s other articles


Ian’s Bird of the Week – Spotless Crake

Spotless Crake (Porzana tabuensis) by Ian

Spotless Crake (Porzana tabuensis) by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Spotless Crake ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 10/11/11

There’s no doubt as to what is currently the Bird of the Week in Townsville: the discovery of this Spotless Crake in a small patch of reedy grass beside Ross River just below Aplin’s Weir is causing great excitement. They’re rare here and the birder who circulated the news, thank you Marlene, could find only 5 records in Townsville since 1994, the last one being in 2000. Not having photographed one before, I got up at 5:40am this morning to have a second attempt at photographing it (it wasn’t very cooperative yesterday afternoon) and there was universal agreement that this was a noteworthy event as I’m famously not an early riser.

Spotless Crake (Porzana tabuensis) by Ian

Spotless Crake (Porzana tabuensis) by Ian

In fact, the Crake wasn’t very cooperative this morning either, making only 3 brief appearances between 6:30 and 9:00am, really brief with the longest period between the first and last photo in a session being 6 seconds. It was definitely a question of using a tripod mounted camera focussed on its chosen spot. If you compare the first and second photos, taken 40 minutes apart, and look for the semicircular reed stem sticking out of the water near its bill, you’ll see that it was in almost exactly the same place on both occasions.
If you look in the background, you can see an out-of-focus and much larger Buff-banded Rail that was around at the same time, but completely overshadowed by its rarer cousin. The rail was much more forthcoming, and regularly paraded in full view to have its photo taken (at the risk of missing an appearance by the real star) as in the third photo.
Buff-banded Rail (Gallirallus philippensis) by Ian

Buff-banded Rail (Gallirallus philippensis) by Ian

For comparison Spotless Crakes are 17-20cm/6.7-8in in length, while Buff-banded Rails are 28-33cm/11-13in. The names ‘crake’ and ‘rail’ are used taxonomically somewhat indiscriminately for these small secretive members of the Rallidae. For example, the Hawaiian and St Helena Rails belong to the same genus as most of the Australian Crakes (Porzanus). Still on names, it’s very unusual for birds to be named after features they lack, such as spots. In the Birdlife International list of birds of the world, about 10,000 species, I could find only 9 that are something-less: 2 are crestless, 3 are flightless, 2 are spotless and, prizewinner for strange names, the Northern and Southern Beardless Tyrannulets. I didn’t count Restless Flycatcher and the other spotless is the Spotless Starling.

Best wishes

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: 0411 602 737 +61-411 602 737
Preferred Email:

Lee’s Addition:

Sounds like Ian’s Spotless Crake was the talk of the town, at least of the birder’s. I love the way Ian shows so much patience while he is out birdwatching. Most of us would give up and miss these neat photos. Thanks, Ian, for your patience.

That second bird, the Buff-banded Rail, is also a resident at the Lowry Park Zoo. I have been privileged of see it on vary rare occasions. The bird was hidden very well.

But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. (Romans 8:25 KJV)

Buff-banded Rail (Gallirallus philippensis) by Lee at Lowry Pk Zoo

Buff-banded Rail (Gallirallus philippensis) by Lee at Lowry Pk Zoo


Ian’s Bird of the Week – Baillon’s Crake

Baillon's Crake (Porzana pusilla) by Ian

Baillon's Crake (Porzana pusilla) by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Baillon’s Crake ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 6/27/11

My apologies for a belated bird of the week. This week’s bird is the subject of some excitement at the moment in local birding circles with the reporting of unusual numbers of Baillon’s Crake (thank you Len and Chris!) at a small wetland at Pentland about 240km southwest of Townsville. So, I and some friends spent the weekend there. to have a look for this elusive species, uncommon in this part of the country.

Baillon’s, with a length of 15-18cm/6-7in is the smallest member of its family (Rallidae) found in Australia and not much larger than a house sparrow. Members of this species are particularly secretive even by crake standards usually preferring to skulk in reed beds and other aquatic vegetation, but sometimes venture out into the open in dull weather to feed though rarely as freely in sunshine as the ones at Pentland, as in the first photo. This bird is probably a female as HBW (Handbook of Birds of the World, which like many ‘handbooks’ needs a crane to lift it) reports that females have a rufous patch behind the eye.
Baillon's Crake (Porzana pusilla) by Ian

Baillon's Crake (Porzana pusilla) by Ian

By that criterion, the bird on the lily pad in the second photo is a male with a completely grey cheek. It is also showing the long, rather jacana-like toes that enable it to walk over aquatic vegetation, both floating and submerged, though they will swim if necessary. They seemed reluctant to fly, but would do so to chase other birds that appeared to be encroaching on their patch.

Baillon's Crake (Porzana pusilla) by Ian

Baillon's Crake (Porzana pusilla) by Ian

The third photo shows a bird snatching an invertebrate, maybe a small spider, off a blade of grass and stretching out its neck to full extent to do so. They would also pluck prey from under the surface and I watched one that appeared to be eating a mollusc. The fourth photo shows one peering intently at the water but its debatable whether it’s looking for dinner or, Narcissus-like, admiring its reflection (even if it is a female) while its lily pad sinks unnoticed below the surface – Baillon’s Crakes weigh about 35 g, a little over an ounce.

Baillon's Crake (Porzana pusilla) by Ian

Baillon's Crake (Porzana pusilla) by Ian

I think the bird in the fifth photo is a juvenile. The iris is brownish rather than red, the legs and bill are browner than in the adults and the underparts are buffish white, rather than grey.

Baillon's Crake (Porzana pusilla) by Ian

Baillon's Crake (Porzana pusilla) by Ian

Although Crakes in general appear reluctant to fly, they can do so well and over long distances, probably at night. They move around according to the availability of water (the wetland at Pentland sometimes dries out completely) and there is some evidence that Baillon’s Crakes move north in winter in Australia. It also has a wide distribution throughout Eurasia and Africa and a summer visitor in Europe. A separate race is found in New Zealand, it has been recorded on Macquarie Island, and a closely related species, now extinct, used to occur on Laysan Island between Midway Islands and Hawaii.

Incidentally, the smallest member of the family is the Inaccessible Rail found on Inaccessible Island in the Tristan Da Cunha Group with a length of 13-15.5 cm. Furthermore it the smallest flightless bird in the world, but, not having therefore to worry about its waistline, it is, at 40 g, heaver than Baillon’s Crake.
Best wishes,

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: 0411 602 737 +61-411 602 737
Preferred Email:

Lee’s Addition:

Baillons are part of the Rails, Crakes & Coots – Rallidae Family of the Gruiformes Order. The Crake is in the same family as our Purple Gallinules, Common Gallinules or Moorhens and the American Coots we see often. We have Rails (Black, Clapper, King, Virginia, and Yellow) and the Sora here in Florida, but I never seem to spot them. The birds here are much larger than Ian just described. Would love to see one of them.

The most typical family members occupy dense vegetation in damp environments near lakes, swamps, or rivers. Reed beds are a particularly favoured habitat. They are omnivorous, and those that migrate do so at night: most nest in dense vegetation. In general, they are shy and secretive birds, and are difficult to observe.

Most species walk and run vigorously on strong legs, and have long toes which are well adapted to soft, uneven surfaces. They tend to have short, rounded wings and although they are generally weak fliers, they are, nevertheless, capable of covering long distances.

Can the papyrus grow up without a marsh? Can the reeds flourish without water? While it is yet green and not cut down, It withers before any other plant. So are the paths of all who forget God; (Job 8:11-13a NKJV)

See more of Ian’s Bird of the Week articles.
Family #46 – Rallidae


Mysterious Sungrebe…

Sungrebe (Heliornis fulica) by Robert Scanlan

Sungrebe (Heliornis fulica) by Robert Scanlan

Mysterious Sungrebe… ~ by a j mithra

Sungrebe, common name for a tropical, mainly aquatic bird of the family Heliornithidae. Sungrebes, also called finfoots, are remarkable for their colorful, puffy-toed, webbed feet, which may serve as lures for fish and other aquatic animals.

The Sungrebe is a small slim-bodied water bird, typically 28-31 cm long and weighing 130 g.

African Finfoot with puffy feet ©WikiC

African Finfoot with puffy feet ©WikiC

Once widely distributed, they (Heliornithidae) are now limited to three species.

The largest of these is the Masked Finfoot (Heliopais personata) measuring up to 20 in. (51 cm) in length, and found from Bengal to Malaya and Sumatra. Its body is olive-brown above, with a black head and throat, a yellow bill, and bright green legs with white stripes.

At 16 in. (41 cm), the African Finfoot (Podica senegalis) is dark brown with black and white spots above, a white belly, and bright red feet and legs. It is thought to be more of a climber than the other species.

Only a third to a quarter as bulky as the Asian Sungrebe and measuring less than 12 in. (30 cm) in length is the Sungrebe (Heliornis fulica) of South and Central America. its plumage is colored similarly to that of the Asian sun grebe, but it is scarlet-billed with yellow, black-striped legs.

All three species are marked by a white band running from eye to neck. Sun grebes are classified in the phylum Chordata subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Gruiformes, family Heliornithidae. It is mainly brown, with a long neck and blackish tail, and a long red bill. The crown and neck are strikingly patterned with black and white stripe, and the feet are black and yellow.

The sexes differ in the colour of the cheeks, buff in the female and white for the male. Sungrebes are shy birds rarely seen by people. They usually swim close to cover and may hide either in vegetation or in the water, with their bodies underwater and their heads lowered, when they are disturbed.

What do we do when we are disturbed in life?

  • Look up towards mortal men or the immortal God?
  • These birds teach us the best way to turn our focus from a mess to a message…
  • Instead of facing the problem, it would be better to get immersed in to the Living water…
  • As long as Peter’s focus was on the Lord, he was able to walk over the water…
  • Once he shifted his focus from the Lord to the water, he sunk…
  • Let our focus be on the One whose focus is always on us…

The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe. (Psalm 18:10)

They are not just good swimmers but capable walkers and climbers too. Sungrebes tend to roost, or spend the night, in trees or bushes. This bird is unique that it is able to do everything; fly, swim, walk and climb..

We are unique too, for, God has created us in His image..

So, lets stop talking low of ourselves and start praising God for His purpose in our lives..

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13)

Masked Finfoot (Heliopais personatus) Wikipedia

Masked Finfoot (Heliopais personatus) ©Wikipedia

Sungrebes may be solitary, that is, may live by themselves, or are found in pairs, generally male and female breeding partners, or family groups. Sungrebes are permanently territorial, meaning they defend their territories from other individuals of the same species during the breeding season as well as the nonbreeding season.

Although all three sungrebe species have distinctive calls, these are not often heard. The African Finfoot makes a loud booming sound during breeding. The Masked Finfoot has a bubbling call. The Sungrebe has a “eeyoo” call that it makes to warn other sungrebes away from its territory.

Though these birds have distinctive calls, they are not often heard..

Our grumbling and complaining is heard ever so often, which makes it easier for satan to locate us easily..

The Bible says,

I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. (Psalm 81:10)

God did not ask us to open our mouth to complain and grumble, but, to sing praises…

  • The next time you feel like a looser and want to grumble or complain, just remember that, you are giving away your location to satan…
  • Our praises has the power to vacate God from heaven, to dwell with us..
  • At the same time grumble and complaints has the power to bring satan among us…
  • Remember, Israelites grumbled and fell dead in the wilderness…
  • But, Joshua and Caleb worshiped their way into the land of milk and honey…

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. (Proverbs 18:21)

African Finfoot (Podica senegalensis) Wikipedia

African Finfoot (Podica senegalensis) Wikipedia

Sungrebes feed primarily on insects, particularly midgets, mayflies, and dragonflies. They may also eat beetles, grasshoppers, and flies, as well as some mollusks, crustaceans, worms, millipedes, and spiders. Occasionally they can eat larger animals such as frogs, tadpoles, or small fish. Sungrebes are also known to eat a small amount of plant material, such as seeds and leaves. Most of their food is found on the water surface, but Sungrebes also forage in overhanging vegetation or along banks.

It nests from August to April building a bowl shaped nest from reeds, course grass and shiny leaves which it places on a sloping branch overhanging the water often in driftwood caught in branches. The eggs are pale buffy green streaked with brown and purple and 1 to 2 are laid and incubated for about eleven days. The chicks hatch naked, blind, and defenseless.

When our dwelling place is near the Living waters, we have providence in abundance and protection and deliverance..

Where are we planted?

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. (Psalm 1:1-3)

The Sungrebe is already very strange in having a very short incubation period (10-11 days, matching some small passerines) but has an astonishing behavior entirely unique in the bird world: the male Sungrebe is able to transport these helpless offspring, even in flight! The male has a shallow pocket under each wing into which the two young can fit. The pocket is formed by a pleat of skin, and made more secure by the feathers on the side of the body just below. The heads of the chicks could be seen from below as the bird flew. This adaptation is unique among birds: in no other species is there any mechanism whereby altricial young can be transported.

Our God not only carries us under His mighty wings but has carved us in His palms too…

  • But, most of us seem to find the temporary comforts of the world better suited for us…
  • Maybe that is the reason we are unable to be successful in life…
  • As long as Eve was with Adam, the serpent couldn’t be near her..
  • The day she went alone around the garden of Eden, she was deceived by satan..
  • Where are we right now?
  • It’s time for us to get back to our basics, our first love…

As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: (Deuteronomy 32:11)

Sungrebe (Heliornis fulica) ©Wikipedia

Sungrebe (Heliornis fulica) ©Wikipedia

Of course, the precocial young of some swans and grebes may hitch rides on their swimming parents’ backs, and a male jaçana can transport his chicks about holding them between his wings and body, but neither of these cases applies when the adults are in flight….

The transport system of the Sungrebe raises numerous further questions. How do the chicks get into the pocket? Are they put in by the male? Does he feed them in there? Do they stay inside, or get in and out? Why does the female not have similar pockets? …

Yes, the Sungrebe and the Finfoots are mystery birds indeed…

Our God is not mysterious but His ways are…

  • He makes ways only where there seems to be no way….
  • He makes ways over the waters and over the sky…
  • He brings waters in the wilderness and rivers into the desert…
  • You may not see rain or wind yet, He is capable of bring rain….
  • He can win a battle with a pebble..
  • He can even win a war without a fight…
  • He can make the waters stand up tall and mighty walls to lie flat..

Our God is able…

Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings: (Jeremiah 32:19)

Have a blessed day!

Your’s in YESHUA,
a j mithra

Please visit us at: Crosstree

Heliornithidae Family

Gruiformes Order

Happy Birthday – Skippy at National Aviary

Black-necked Stilt - Skippy

"Skippy" - Black-necked Stilt

Today is the 23rd birthday of “Skippy” the Black-necked Stilt. We met him on Friday at the National Aviary in Pittsburg, PA. Dan and I had the privilege of visiting  the National Aviary recently and thoroughly enjoyed our two days we spent there. “Skippy” is not on exhibit, but is behind the scenes and well taken care of by the hospital staff.

We were given some very special treatment at the Aviary and were allowed to see several of their “behind-the-scenes” operations. The hospital, breeding room, kitchen, an outdoor exhibit (closed right now) and other places were shown. I am thankful for meeting the “bird nurse” the day before our visit at a book store. I was looking at the bird books (of course) when I met Sarah. Long story short, she told us that she would show us around and did she ever. This is just the first of the articles to be written about the Aviary.

National Aviary Hospital Sign

National Aviary Hospital

We were in the Hospital section where the older birds are kept. These are ones who have been active in shows or have just been there a long time and are sort of in their “geriatric” stage of life. The birds there are kept comfortable and their health is maintained as well as can be. They are all very special and each had a story attached to them. I sort of felt right a home in there, since I have my fair share of aches and pains as I age.

We met “Skippy” who is kept in an area that has a fence (around it to create a pen). I may not get all the details right (I’m getting old, remember), but when his life long mate died, he wanted to give up and was very sad. That caused his health to deteriorate and he ended up in the “hospital.”  In memory of his sweetheart, they had painted a mural on the wall. One day he discovered the painting of his mate and parked right there beside it. His health started improving. They decided to put a fence around that area and that is where we found him the other day.

Today is Skippy’s birthday and he turns 23. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SKIPPY! He is one of the longest known living Black-necked Stilts. The photo shows him beside the painting of his mate and a part of his pen. There is a mirror hanging there which he love to look in.

Black-necked Stilt at Circle B Bar Reserve

Black-necked Stilt at Circle B Bar Reserve by Lee

Black-necked Stilts (Himantopus mexicanus) are in Recurvirostridae Family which includes Avocets and Stilts. There are only 11 species in the family. They are in the Charadriiformes Order. This Stilt is a locally abundant shorebird of American wetlands and coastlines. We see them quite frequently around our area. I saw my first one in 2000 in the Rockport, TX.

“Adults have long pink legs and a long thin black bill. They are white below and have black wings and backs. The tail is white with some grey banding. A continuous area of black extends from the back along the hindneck to the head. There, it forms a cap covering the entire head from the top to just below eye-level, with the exception of the areas surrounding the bill and a small white spot above the eye. Males have a greenish gloss to the back and wings, particularly in the breeding season. This is less pronounced or absent in females, which have a brown tinge to these areas instead. Otherwise, the sexes look alike. (From Wikipedia)

They usually have 3-5 young and both of them take turn incubating the eggs for 22-26 days. The young can be swimming within 2 hours of birth. Check out the Aviary’s webpage on the Black-necked Stilt for more information about it.

Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven? (Job 35:11)

Is it wrong to be sad when someone dies? I think Skippy was only showing his love and concern for the bird he had spent so much time with.

When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, And said, Where have ye laid him (Lazarus)? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept. Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him! (John11:33-36)

Limpkin Page Updated 10-13-09

Limpkin (Aramus guarauna)II at Saddle Creek By Dan'sPix

Limpkin (Aramus guarauna)II at Saddle Creek By Dan'sPix

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD! (Psalms 150:6)

CLASS – AVES, Order – GRUIFORMES, Family – Aramidae – Limpkin

Limpkin Family Aramidae
Limpkin Aramus guarauna

Finding Photos for Limpkins was not a problem for us. That is one of the birds we see very frequently in this area.


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Information from Wikipedia with editing

“The Limpkin (also called “carrao”, “courlan”, “crying bird”), Aramus guarauna, is a bird that looks like a large rail but is skeletally closer to cranes. They are in the GRUIFORMES family. It is found mostly in wetlands in warm parts of the Americas, where it feeds primarily on apple snails of the genus Pomacea. Its name derives from its seeming limp when it walks.”

Range and habitat
The Limpkin occurs from peninsular Florida (and formerly the Okefenokee Swamp in southern Georgia) and southern Mexico through the Caribbean and Central America to northern Argentina. In South America it occurs widely east of the Andes; west of them its range extends only to the Equator.

Limpkin & Baby at Saddle Creek By Dan'sPix

Limpkin & Baby at Saddle Creek By Dan'sPix

It inhabits freshwater marshes and swamps, often with tall reeds, as well as mangroves. In the Caribbean, it also inhabits dry brushland. In Mexico and northern Central America, it occurs at altitudes up to 1,500 m (4,900 ft).

The Limpkin is a somewhat large bird, 66 cm (26 in) long, with a wingspan of about 102 cm (40 in) and a weight of about 1.1 kg (2.4 lb). Its plumage is drab—dark brown with an olive luster above. The feathers of the head, neck, wing coverts, and much of the back and underparts (except the rear) are marked with white, making the body look streaked and the head and neck light gray. It has long, dark-gray legs and a long neck. Its bill is long, heavy, and downcurved, yellowish bill with a darker tip. The bill is slightly open near but not at the end to give it a tweezers-like action in removing snails from their shells, and in many individuals the tip curves slightly to the right, like the apple snails’ shells. The white markings are slightly less conspicuous in first-year birds. Its wings are broad and rounded and its tail is short. It is often confused with the immature White Ibis.

This bird is easier to hear than see. Its common vocalization is a loud wild wail or scream[4][5] with some rattling quality, represented as “kwEEEeeer or klAAAar.” This call is most often given at night[4] and at dawn and dusk. It has been used for jungle sound effects in Tarzan films and for the hippogriff in the film Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Other calls include “wooden clicking”, clucks, and in alarm, a “piercing bihk, bihk…”.
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Behavior and feeding
Limpkins are largely nocturnal and crepuscular, except that in Florida refuges, where they do not fear people, they are active during the day. Even so, they are usually found near cover.

Because of their long toes, they can stand on floating water plants; they also swim well. They fly strongly, the neck projecting forward and the legs backward, the wings beating shallowly and stiffly, with a jerky upstroke, above the horizontal most of the time.

Snail remains at Lake Hollingsworth by Lee

Snail remains at Lake Hollingsworth by Lee

forage primarily in shallow water and on floating vegetation such as water hyacinth and water lettuce They walk slowly with a gait described as “slightly undulating” and “giving the impression of lameness or limping”, “high-stepping”, or “strolling”, looking for food if the water is clear or probing with the bill. They feed on small aquatic life, principally apple snails. The availability of this one mollusk has a significant effect on the local distribution of the Limpkin. When a Limpkin finds an apple snail, it carries it to land or very shallow water and places it in mud, the opening facing up. It deftly removes the operculum or “lid” and extracts the snail, seldom breaking the shell. The extraction takes 10 to 20 seconds. It often leaves piles of empty shells at favored spots.

Freshwater mussels are a secondary food source. Less important prey items are land snails, insects, frogs, and lizards.

Males have territories of several hectares, where they call loudly and chase other males away. Nests are built on the ground, in dense floating vegetation, in bushes, or at any height in trees. They are bulky structures of rushes, sticks or other materials. The clutch consists of 5 to 7 eggs, averaging 6, which measure 6.0 cm × 4.4 cm (2.4 in × 1.7 in). Their background color ranges from gray-white through buff to deep olive, and they are marked with light-brown and sometimes purplish-gray blotches and speckles. Both parents incubate for about 27 days. The young hatch covered with down, capable of walking, running, and swimming. They follow their parents to a platform of aquatic vegetation where they will be brooded. They are fed by both parents; they reach adult size at 7 weeks and leave their parents at about 16 weeks.