About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Bird Identification Help!

This is photo of a bird that was under my bush. It's about 5-7 inches. Anyone know what it is?

Sora Porzana Carolina
Order: GRUIFORMES Family: Rails and Coots (Rallidae)

The Sora is an 8-10” marsh bird that has a black face and throat, with a short, yellow bill. The breast and nape of neck are gray. The back is mottled brown and the belly displays black and white barring.

It also has short, round wings which offer seemingly weak, but highly maneuverable flight through tangled vegetation. Its strong yellow legs, with long slender toes provide a strong walking and running ability amongst tangled wetland vegetation. Although this species prefers walking to flying, its long distance capabilities are evident in its migration to Michigan in mid-April and in September when it goes back to the Caribbean to winter.

The Sora is the most common and widely distributed rail in North America. It is commonly heard in many wetlands, but is rarely seen. Similar to other rails, the sora is a secretive species, hiding in the dense vegetation of its wetland habitat. The sora calls frequently, whistling and whinnying its calls to other soras, as well as in response to other rails.

Their diet consists of mollusks, insects, and snails picked from the ground and seeds of marsh plants, and duckweed found by probing soft mud with its bill. Their greatest threat is the destruction of the freshwater marshes where they breed: they have consequently become scarce in heavily populated areas. A group of soras are collectively known as an "ache", "expression", and "whinny" of soras.

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