Other Free Encyclopedias » Animal Life Resource » Birds » Limpkin: Aramidae - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, LIMPKINS AND PEOPLE

Limpkin: Aramidae - Behavior And Reproduction

limpkins snail bill nests

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. Limpkins are good swimmers and slow but strong fliers. The name limpkin comes from the slightly awkward walk of the species. However, limpkins are in fact strong runners. 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.

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. In particular, the general physical appearance and hunting behavior of limpkins resemble that of cranes, but other aspects of behavior, including a more secretive nature, resemble that of rails and their relatives.

SNAIL EATERS

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 adapted 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 call of a limpkin is extremely distinctive. It is a loud, wild-sounding scream or wail that is frequently described as a "kree-ow kree-ow" sound. The call is given most often in the early morning or at night, as well as on cloudy days. This loud, distinctive cry accounts for some of the nicknames the limpkin has picked up in parts of its range. These include wailing bird, crying bird, and crazy widow. Limpkins also make a quieter clicking noise.

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. In general, four to eight eggs are laid at a time by the female. The eggs range from white to pale brown in color, and may or may not be lightly spotted. 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 young are Limpkin chicks are able to leave the nest about one day after hatching. (© Bill Dyer/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.) precocial (pree-KOH-shul), meaning they are fairly developmentally advanced when they hatch, being covered with down (rather than featherless) and able to move. Limpkin chicks are able to leave the nest about one day after hatching, and follow one of the parents around until they become independent.


Limpkin: Aramidae - Conservation Status [next] [back] Limpkin: Aramidae - Diet

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over 8 years ago

We live in southeast GA and have just become aware of a Limpkin in our wetland area. We recently moved here, have heard the bird calls, but never knew what it was. Then this past week we were startled by a single Limpkin and have seen it in our back yard wetland area. It took us a while to determine what bird it was, but have deffinitely observed enough of it to verify that it is this type.30Aug2009

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almost 7 years ago

Are there times of the year when limpkins scream all night long? We are experiencing this right now. It's rough and difficult to sleep.

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over 7 years ago

During this Florida winter cold spell a new bird showed up and I just identified it on your site as the limpkin. I saw three of them one day along our lake here in Boca Raton, now there seems to be just one and he is screaming and crying day and night! He is a beautiful bird but is this a mating call to find others of his kind? It seems he should be returned to the marshes or everglades, I will try to see if he perhaps might be injured and cannot the other two left but this one is awfully noisy any ideas why? He is keeping me awake I am thinking of calling some wildlife people to perhaps move him more west or north.

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over 8 years ago

There is a pair of limpkins in my yard, which backs on to a lake, who have lost a baby (about the size of a melon, so not newborn) and they are frantic, calling all day long for two weeks now. They pace in front of my reflective patio windows and start pecking and eventually they jump up and clas and beak hit the window. This jumping is repetitive - five or more times rather quickly - before they tire out. All day long, from sunrise to sunset. I finally moved the dead bird, after about a week, and cover the windows with paper, but they find the smallest square not covered, and peck away. They circled and inspected the dead bird when I moved it into the middle of the yard, but the sight didn't deter them. Does anyone have a suggestion on how to remove these birds. It is pathetic and annoying.

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about 9 years ago

Limpkins seem to be new to the eastern coast of Florida. I have just seen them in the last ten years. The eggs of the snails are usually on the walls of the canal looking like pink bubble gum.

We have a pair at thie time that have six chicks. The male and female both feed the young ones,but one at a time. It is amazing to see the orderly way each chick takes it's turn. This must be new to have them on the east coast because they were not here ten years ago. Their mating call is a bit too much for the light sleeper.

Funny yhing they sometimes come to our patio like thay are showing their brood.