Sora

Sora

Sora rail, Sora crake

Kingdom
Phylum
Class
Subclass
Infraclass
Superorder
Order
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Porzana carolina
Population size
Unknown
WEIGHT
49-112 g
LENGTH
19-30 cm
WINGSPAN
35-40 cm

The Sora is a small waterbird, sometimes also referred to as the sora rail or sora crake. Adult birds have dark-marked brown upperparts, a blue-grey face and underparts, and black and white barring on the flanks. They have a short thick yellow bill, with black markings on the face at the base of the bill and on the throat. Males and females look similar, but young soras lack the black facial markings and have a whitish face and buff breast.

Distribution

Soras occur throughout most of North America. They breed from Nova Scotia northwest to southern Yukon and Northwest Territories, south to California, Arizona, and New Mexico and northeast to Pennsylvania and New England. Soras are migratory and winter in the southern United States, the Caribbean, and northern South America. These birds inhabit wetlands, flooded wooded areas, and can also be found in cultivated areas such as rice fields, pastures, and flooded fields.

Sora habitat map

Biome

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Soras are secretive birds spending their time hiding in dense vegetation. They are more often heard than seen, however, sometimes they can be seen walking near open water. These birds are territorial but outside of the breeding season they become gregarious and congregate in big numbers. Soras forage while walking or swimming picking prey items from the ground or water surface and will also probe with their bill in mud or among vegetation. These birds communicate with the help of various calls and become most vocal at dawn. Their common call is a slow whistled 'ker-whee', or a descending whinny.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Soras are omnivores and eat a wide range of foods. They feed on seeds, aquatic plants, snails, crustaceans, spiders, and insects including beetles, grasshoppers, flies, and dragonflies.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
REPRODUCTION SEASON
late April-early August, peak in May-early July
INCUBATION PERIOD
19 days
INDEPENDENT AGE
4 weeks
BABY NAME
chick
BABY CARRYING
8-16 eggs

Soras are monogamous and form pairs. They breed from late April through early August and the peak of the nesting period typically occurs from May to early July. Females begin construction of saucer-shaped nests on the ground or on a platform over shallow water at the start of egg-laying. Clutch sizes typically range from 8 to 13 eggs, although clutch sizes of up to 16 have been reported. Both parents incubate the eggs and incubation lasts approximately 19 days. Nestlings are precocial and are capable of walking and swimming short distances by the end of their first day. At the age of 4 weeks, young soras fledge and become independent from their parents.

Population

Population threats

Despite being widespread and common, soras suffer from the loss of wetland habitat and they are also hunted in many parts of their range.

Population number

The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the sora total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are increasing.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • It is suggested that the name "Sora" is probably taken from a Native American language.
  • Soras have long toes and light weight which allow them to walk and run with ease on Lily pads.
  • During late summer, soras are flightless for a period because during this time they have a post-nuptial molt.
  • When sensing danger, sora chicks drop into the water and hide in a safe place under vegetation.
  • Although secretive, soras aggressively defend their territory. To threaten intruders, they stretch their neck, bow, and spread their tail and wings.

References

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