Limpkin Aramus guarauna


Apparently named for its shuffling gait, the Limpkin is an ibis-like bird about 65 cm tall. Its plumage is brown with white spots and streaks on the front half of the bird. The bill is pale and slightly decurved; the legs are long and dark, and the toes are long—allowing it to walk on floating vegetation. Limpkins occur from the extreme southeastern United States (Georgia and Florida), through the Greater Antilles and Mexico to Argentina. They inhabit many aquatic environments including flooded agricultural fields of rice and sugar cane, marshes, canals, wooded swamps, mangroves, flooded cypress forest, and lake and pond edges. As with the cranes (Gruidae) to which it is related, the Limpkin has a mechanical flight with a snappy upstroke that is recognizable at a great distance. They hide much of the day in tall vegetation and are seen and heard most frequently during late afternoon and at dusk. Their hollow, wailing, far-carrying call is well described by its Brazilian name Carão. A variety of wetland animals including fishes, reptiles and amphibians, insects, and mussels are taken as well as some plant material; however, large snails (Pomacea) are their main prey. During periods of drought, both the Limpkin and the snail are susceptible to population fluctuations. Movements, including the departure of females, may be migratory or in response to food or water availability. Depending on the habitat, nests may be placed in clumps of grasses, shrubs, or trees, often at some height (approx 7 m).

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© Geoffrey A. Keller

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Limpkin (Aramus guarauna), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: