SORA

SORA (Porzana carolina)

The Sora is a difficult to see small shorebird that is part of the gallinule and rail family. It has a large, conical yellow bill, and measures up to 30 cm (12 in.) long. The upper parts including the head are dark brown, and the under parts are blue-grey. The English name probably comes from a Native American language, and the Latin name ‘porzana’ refers to a small rail.

The sora’s nesting and feeding habitat includes wetlands such as marshes with tall vegetation like cattails for good cover. They forage in shallow water or on the ground for plant material or insects and other invertebrates.

The sora rail is hunted in many states and provinces during fall migration, for example in rice marshes. However its overall population appears stable and the bird is listed as of ‘least concern’.

The sora breeds on PEI and is common. Its breeding range includes most of Canada and the USA, and it winters along the coast in southeast USA, in Mexico and Central America.

Sora - Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area, QC - photo by Cephas
Sora – Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area, QC – photo by Cephas

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