My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Sora, Porzana carolina

Note: this post, while published, is a work in progress, as are all posts in this series, My Photo Life List. My goal is to photograph every species of bird that is seen on a regular basis here in Michigan, working from a list compiled by the Michigan chapter of the Audubon Society. This will be a lifelong project, that I began in January of 2013, and as I shoot better photos of this, or any other species, I will update the post for that species with better photos when I can. While this series is not intended to be a field guide per se, my minimum standard for the photos in this series is that one has to be able to make a positive identification of the species in my photos. The information posted here is from either my observations or the Wikipedia, the online free encyclopedia, however, I have personally shot all the photos appearing in this series.

Sora, Porzana carolina

 

The Sora (Porzana carolina) is a small waterbird of the family Rallidae, sometimes also referred to as the Sora Rail or Sora Crake.

Adult Soras are 19–30 cm (7.5–11.8 in) long, with dark-marked brown upper-parts, 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. Sexes are similar, but young Soras lack the black facial markings and have a whitish face and buff breast. They weigh about 49–112 g (1.7–4.0 oz).

The Sora’s breeding habitat is marshes throughout much of North America. They nest in a well-concealed location in dense vegetation. The female usually lays 10 to 12 eggs, sometimes as many as 18, in a cup built from marsh vegetation. The eggs do not all hatch together. Both parents incubate and feed the young, who leave the nest soon after they hatch and are able to fly within a month.

They migrate to the southern United States and northern South America. Sora is a very rare vagrant to western Europe, where it can be confused with Spotted Crake. However, the latter species always has spotting on the breast. a streaked crown stripe, and a different wing pattern.

Soras forage while walking or swimming. They are omnivores, eating seeds, insects and snails. Although Soras are more often heard than seen, they are sometimes seen walking near open water. They are fairly common, despite a decrease in suitable habitat in recent times. The call is a slow whistled ker-whee, or a descending whinny. The use of call broadcasts greatly increases the chances of hearing a Sora. Call broadcasts can also increase the chances of seeing a Sora, as they will often investigate the source of the call.

On to my photos:

 

Sora

Sora

Sora

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Sora

Sora

Sora

Sora

Sora

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Sora

Sora

Sora

Sora

This is number 155 in my photo life list, only 195 to go!

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!

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10 responses

  1. What good camouflage this bird has! When sitting still among the reeds the markings on the feathers must blend in so well.

    May 13, 2014 at 4:53 am

    • Thanks Clare, it was tough to spot the sora.

      May 15, 2014 at 10:30 am

  2. Great pictures! This is definitely the same as the one that strayed into our back garden.

    May 13, 2014 at 11:57 am

    • Thanks Sue! I’m glad that it helped you ID your bird.

      May 15, 2014 at 10:30 am

  3. What a cool-looking bird! I love how it looks while swimming, quite handsome!

    May 13, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    • Thanks Amy!

      May 15, 2014 at 10:31 am

  4. Great photos and article. I saw my first Sora a couple of weeks ago at Malheur Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon.

    May 14, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    • Thank you, they are common, I’ve heard them hundreds of times, but seeing them is difficult, so you’re one of the lucky ones.

      May 15, 2014 at 10:31 am

  5. You can hear these birds making their descending whinny calls in wetlands around my area here- good pics!

    May 15, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    • Thanks! I used to hear the all the time while bass fishing, but I never saw one.

      May 15, 2014 at 3:27 pm