is found in the southeastern United States, West Indies, and from southern Mexico to Argentina. (Peterson, 1999)
is found near fresh swamps and marshes. In Florida, it is found in open freshwater marshes, along the shores of ponds and lakes, and in wooded swamps along rivers and near springs. Throughout most of its tropical range, its habitat and distribution are dictated by the presence of apple snails. (Peterson, 1999)
- Aquatic Biomes
- rivers and streams
appears to be a cross between a crane and a rail. It is roughly 28" tall. is of a brown coloration with white spots and streaks. It has long legs and a drooping bill. 's flight is crane-like in apperance. There is very little difference between the males and females of this species. (Peterson, 1999)
Not much is known about the breeding habits of. First of all, the site for the nest varies, ranging from on the ground near water, in the marsh grass just above the water, or in shrubs or trees above or near water, up to 20 feet high or sometimes much higher. The nest is essentially a platform of reeds and grasses, lined with finer plant material. The nest usually contains 4 to 8 eggs, olive to buff, and blotched with brown and gray in color. Both sexes are known to incubate the eggs, but the incubation period is not exactly known. The young, covered with down, leave the nest within a day after hatching and follow one or both of the parents. Both parents take care of feeding the young. The development of the young and the age that they achieve flight are unknown. (Wakulla, 1999)
is mostly a solitary creature. In South America, it may move around somewhat with wet and dry seasons. It is a permanent resident in its limited United States range. Strays have very rarely wandered farther north. (Peterson, 1999) breeds year round with no particular mating season. Their breeding sites will be abandoned if their food supply runs low or if there is any human disturbance. (Cowley, 2000)
- Key Behaviors
Communication and Perception
The diet ofconsists of freshwater snails (Apple Snails in Florida), mussels, seeds, small reptiles and frogs, insects, worms, and crayfish. (Jurica, 1999) The Limpkin forages by walking in shallow water, searching for snails visually, also by probing in mud and among vegetation. The tip of the bill usually curves slightly to the right, which may help in removing snails from their curved shell. Its bill also usually has a slight gap just behind the tips of the mandibles, which may help in carrying and manipulating snails. (Wakulla, 1999)
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
The only negative effect on human economy are the laws protecting the Limpkin, which can impede development of certain areas.
Althoughis not in danger worldwide, it was hunted to extinction in Florida during the early years of the 20th century. Legal protection, however, has helped Limpkin populations out of the danger zone. (Wakulla, 1999)
has no close relatives in the animal kingdom. It appears to be related to the Cranes and the Rails, but a part of neither family. is sometimes called the "Crying Bird" because of its distinctive call, a piercing, repeated wail, kree-ow, kra-ow, etc., especially at night and on cloudy days. (Peterson, 1999) gets the nickname "Limpkin" because of the way it walks, appearing to sometimes have a limp.
Justin Martino (author), Cocoa Beach High School, Penny Mcdonald (editor), Cocoa Beach High School.
- Atlantic Ocean
the body of water between Africa, Europe, the southern ocean (above 60 degrees south latitude), and the western hemisphere. It is the second largest ocean in the world after the Pacific Ocean.
uses sound to communicate
- bilateral symmetry
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
the nearshore aquatic habitats near a coast, or shoreline.
animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
- native range
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
uses touch to communicate
uses sight to communicate
Cowley, M. 2000. "NSiS Florida's Common Waterbirds - Limpkins" (On-line). Accessed February 16, 2000 at http://www.nsis.org/bird/sp/wb-limp.html.
O'Donnell, T. 2010. "Limpkin video" (On-line video). Accessed April 13, 2011 at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfQL4zS-FJw.
Peterson Online, 1999. "Peterson IDs: Limpkin" (On-line). Accessed February 16, 2000 at http://www.petersononline.com/birds/month/limp/index.html.
Wakulla County, T. 1999. "Limpkin" (On-line). Accessed February 16, 2000 at http://www.wakullacounty.org/wakulla-11.htm.