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Limpkin Aramus guarauna


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credit: South Central Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Aramidae, Limpkins view all from this family

Description ADULT Has rich brown plumage overall, darkest on belly and flight feathers and palest on face. Head, neck, and back are adorned with white, streaklike spots; those on back and wing coverts are largest and most arrowhead like. Bill is dull yellow and legs are dark. JUVENILE Similar, but with smaller, less distinct white markings.

Dimensions Length: 25-28" (64-71 cm)

Habitat Widespread in Central and South America, but restricted here to wetlands in Florida where it is a scarce resident.

Observation Tips Easiest to see in Everglades; despite size, surprisingly easy to overlook.

Range Florida, Southeast

Voice A loud, far-carrying and vaguely crane-like screeching kee-ow.

Discussion Large and distinctive wetland bird with the body of a heron (plumage recalls that of immature night-heron), but a massive bill reminiscent of an ibis or a large shorebird. Note also the long, powerful legs. Feeds mainly on apple snails, curvature of bill tip assisting in extraction of snail's body from its shell. In flight, wings are broad, appear relatively long and square-ended. Sexes are similar.