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ID Info
Silhouette RailsRails
SoraPorzana carolina
  • ORDER: Gruiformes
  • FAMILY: Rallidae

Basic Description

A descending whinny emanates from the depths of cattails and rushes, but the source of this sound rarely shows itself. This secretive brown-and-gray marsh bird is a Sora, but drab it is not. When it finally pokes its head out of the reeds its bright yellow bill might have you thinking about Halloween candy corns. The Sora walks slowly through shallow wetlands a bit like a chicken that has had too much coffee, nervously flicking its tail and exposing the white feathers below.

More ID Info
image of range map for Sora
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

The best time to see a Sora is early in the morning or late in the evening, when they are more likely to venture out of the dense vegetation to look for food. Listen for the characteristic whinny, which they give more frequently during migration and the breeding season (April–July) to know if you are in the right spot. Once you've heard a Sora, to maximize your chances of seeing one, look for an area with a clear view along a stretch of wetland with muddy edges.

Other Names

  • Polluela Sora (Spanish)
  • Marouette de Caroline (French)
  • Cool Facts