Sonoran Desert Naturalist >>> Field Guide >>> Riparian and Water Birds >>> Sora


Porzana carolina

Photo © by Michael Plagens

This Sora was photographed at the Gilbert Riparian Preserve, Gilbert, Arizona, 14 Feb. 2009. Many people visit and observe wildlife at this location. As a consequence, many birds are unusually tolerant of upright primates stalking nearby with cameras or binoculars.

Sora, like most other rail species, are highly secretive marsh birds that rarely emerge from between reeds and tules. It is much easier to identify sora in an area by their unique call. Listen to call recorded at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. In the Sonoran Desert, Sora are more common during the winter months when numbers are augmented by birds migrating from the north. Sora have a yellow bill, gray plumage on neck and chest, barring on lower flanks, and a stiff, fleshy tail. The birds rarely fly and forage by walking on mud or in shallow water. Food is primarily insect larvae found in and on the mud in the reedy margins of rivers and ponds. These birds are generally distributed across North America.

Winter Resident - A few remain and breed in Summer

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2009