Limpkin - Ross Feldner

This large wading bird lives mostly in wetland Florida and Georgia. It takes its name from its seeming limp when it walks.

Limpkins feed mainly on snails, particularly apple snails and have a specialized bill that is is slightly open near the end, which gives it a tweezers-like ability to remove snails from their shells. The bill also curves slightly to the right matching the shell of the apple snail!

They're known for their piercing, eerie wail usually heard at night.

The Limpkin is considered closely related to rails and cranes even though it resembles an ibis or heron. Like many wading birds, Limpkins were hunted to the brink of extinction during the early 20th century. Currrent threats to the limpkin population include the decline of their primary prey, apple snails, habitat destruction, pollution, and wetland drainage.

Limpkin Fun Facts

Because of their long toes, they can stand on floating water plants.

Tarzan films have used its call for jungle sound effects and for the sound of the hippogriff in one of the Harry Potter movies.

Limpkins are also known as the crying bird.

They can extract a snail without breaking the shell.

Boat-tailed Grackles often attempt to steal the apple snail a Limpkin has caught.

Amazon people believe that when the limpkin starts to call, the river will not rise any more.

Males cry at night to remind each other of their territory.

Their banshee screaming calls sound almost like a human crying for help.

Click here to listen to Florida's loudest bird.

Click here to watch a Limpkin snag an apple snail.


Rachel Carson Council
8600 Irvington Avenue  | Bethesda, Maryland 20817-3604
(301) 214-2400 |

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