No special status Other Comments Aramus guarauna has no close relatives in the animal kingdom. It appears to be related to the Cranes and the Rails, but a part of neither family. Aramus guarauna is sometimes called the "Crying Bird" because of its distinctive call, a piercing, repeated wail, kree-ow, kra-ow, etc. Peterson, Aramus guarauna gets the nickname "Limpkin" because of the way it walks, appearing to sometimes have a limp.

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Today, it is treated as a single species with four subspecies. Along with the nominate subspecies A. Peters , , and A. Meyer , are recognized. The difference between the subspecies are related to slight differences in size and plumage. The earliest known species, Aramus paludigrus , is dated to the middle Miocene , [8] while the oldest supposed members of the family, Aminornis and Loncornis , have been found in early Oligocene deposits in Argentina, although whether these are indeed related is not certain; [5] in fact, Loncornis seems to be a misidentified mammal bone.

Another Oligocene fossil from Europe, Parvigrus pohli family Parvigruidae , has been described as a mosaic of the features shared by the limpkins and the cranes. It shares many morphological features with the cranes and limpkins, but also was much smaller than either group, and was more rail-like in its proportions.

In the paper describing the fossil, Gerald Mayr suggested that it was similar to the stem species of the grues the cranes and limpkins , and that the limpkins evolved massively long bills as a result of the specialisation to feeding on snails.

In contrast, the cranes evolved into long-legged forms to walk and probe on open grasslands. The feathers of the head, neck, wing coverts, and much of the back and underparts except the rear are marked with white, making the body look streaked and the head and neck light gray. It has long, dark-gray legs and a long neck. Its bill is long, heavy, and downcurved, yellowish bill with a darker tip.

This bird is easier to hear than see. Its common vocalization is a loud wild wail or scream [11] [14] with some rattling quality, represented as "kwEEEeeer or klAAAar. In South America, it occurs widely east of the Andes ; west of them its range extends only to the Equator.

In some parts in the northern part of the range, females and a few males leave the breeding areas at the end of summer, returning at the end of winter. This tendency may explain vagrant limpkins seen in other parts of the United States and at sea near the Bahamas.

Where they are not persecuted, they are also very tame and approachable. They also swim well, both as adults or as newly hatched chicks, but they seldom do so. The availability of this one mollusk has a significant effect on the local distribution of the limpkin. It deftly removes the operculum or "lid" and extracts the snail, [14] seldom breaking the shell. The extraction takes 10 to 20 seconds. In large, uniform swamps, nesting territories can often be clumped together, in the form of large colonies.

These are vigorously defended, with males flying to the territory edges to challenge intruders and passing limpkins being chased out of the territory. Territorial displays between males at boundaries include ritualized charging and wing-flapping. Females may also participate in territorial defense, but usually only against other females or juveniles. Territories may be maintained year-round or abandoned temporarily during the nonbreeding season, usually due to lack of food.

With the monogamous pairs, banding studies have shown that a small number of pairs reform the following year four out of 18 pairs. They are bulky structures of rushes , sticks, or other materials. Nest building is undertaken by the male initially, which constructs the nest in his territory prior to pair-bond formation.

Unpaired females visit a number of territories before settling on a male with which to breed. Males may initially challenge and fight off prospective mates, and may not accept first-year females as mates.

Pair-bond formation may take a few weeks. Courtship feeding is part of the bonding process, where males catch and process a snail and then feed it to the female. The egg color is highly variable. Their background color ranges from gray-white through buff to deep olive, and they are marked with light-brown and sometimes purplish-gray blotches and speckles. The eggs are laid daily until the clutch is complete, and incubation is usually delayed until the clutch is completed.

Both parents incubate the eggs during the day, but only the female incubates at night. The shift length is variable, but the male incubates for longer during the day. The male remains territorial during incubation, and leaves the clutch to chase off intruders; if this happens, the female returns quickly to the eggs. The incubation period is about 27 days, and all the eggs hatch within 24 hours of each other.

They follow their parents to a platform of aquatic vegetation, where they are brooded. They are fed by both parents; they reach adult size at 7 weeks and leave their parents at about 16 weeks. Also, adults with serious foot and leg injuries have been reported, suggesting they may have been attacked by turtles while standing on floating vegetation.

Their nests are apparently preyed upon by snakes, raccoons , crows, and muskrats. Two biting lice species were found, Laemobothrion cubense and Rallicola funebris.

The trematode Prionosoma serratum was found in the intestines of some birds; this species may enter the bird after first infecting apple snails this has been shown to be the route of infection for a closely related trematode to infect snail kites.

Nematodes Amidostomum acutum and Strongyloides spp. The species also has a range of common names that refer to its call, for example lamenting bird, or to its supposed gait, crippled bird. The limpkin does not feature much in folklore, although in the Amazon people believe that when the limpkin starts to call, the river will not rise any more.

National Geographic Society.


Aramus guarauna




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