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IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A small, secretive bird of freshwater marshes, the Sora is the most common and widely distributed rail in North America. Its distinctive descending whinny call can be easily heard from the depths of the cattails, but actually seeing the little marsh-walker is much more difficult.

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Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Small marshbird.
  • Triangular body shape, with deep rear end.
  • Slaty gray body.
  • Short, yellow bill.
  • Strong legs.
  • Short tail, often held upright showing white underneath.
  • Black face and bib.

Immature Description

Similar to adult, but without black face or throat, and is buffy brownish on chest.

Range Map Help

Sora Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

Field MarksHelp

Similar Species

  • Virginia Rail has a longer and thinner red bill, is reddish, and lacks the black face.
  • Yellow Rail resembles immature Sora, but is smaller, more yellow, boldly streaked on back, and has a white patch in the wings.