Limpkin Aramidae

Class: Aves

Order: Gruiformes

Family: Aramidae

One species: Limpkin (Aramus guarauna)

CHAPTER

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PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Limpkins are medium-sized gruiform (member of the order Gruiformes) species that have long legs with spread toes, a long, downward-curving bills, and rounded wings and tails. Limpkin bills curve slightly to the right at the tip, a feature that helps them extract its primary prey item, the apple snail, from its shell. There is also an unusual, small gap in the bill which appears to help limpkins carry and manipulate apple snails. Finally, the tip of the upper bill is sharpened and used to cut snails from their shells. Limpkins are primarily dark brown in color although there are white spots on the neck, breast, and the outside surface of the wings. Limpkins are about 26 inches (66 centimeters) in length and can weigh up to 2.4 pounds (1.1 kilograms). They have a wingspan of approximately 40 inches (102 centimeters). Male and female limpkins are generally similar in size and coloration.

GEOGRAPHIC RANGE

Limpkins are found only in the Western Hemisphere, from Florida through most of Mexico, the West Indies, and Central America. They are also in South America east of the Andes mountain range and as far south as central Argentina.

HABITAT

Limpkins generally occur in wetland habitats, including shallow-water areas near ponds, lakes, and slow-moving rivers.

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