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Aramidae – Limpkin

Limpkin in the United States: Photo by Brad Imhoff

The Aramidae family consists of a single species, the Limpkin. Found in marshes and wetlands across the Americas, these large, wading birds are known for their loud, haunting calls, which often echo through the night. Limpkins primarily feed on snails and other aquatic invertebrates and are especially adapted to extracting apple snails from their shells. Their unique foraging behavior and preference for freshwater habitats make them a distinctive sight for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. Explore our guide to learn more about the Limpkin’s habits and characteristics.

Overview of Aramidae

The Limpkin is known for its careful, almost deliberate movements, with a head and neck sway that suggests a limping gait. Its range across the Neotropics closely aligns with that of the apple snail, its primary food source. The Limpkin’s bill is subtly asymmetric, with a lower bill shaped to perfectly extract snails from their shells. This bird goes by many local names, most of which reference its variety of calls and cries. Its haunting screams echoing through the night can be unsettling for those not used to its sounds.