Tag Archives: lakes

Backyard View Of Floridian Birds: Limpkins

South Florida has a plethora of beautiful, interesting birds that come in many sizes.  One interesting bird is the Limpkin.  It has a screech that could wake anyone from a deep sleep, and I personally can attest to that fact.


I have no idea why they are called “Limpkins.”  They don’t have a limp.  They move with the same lumbering gait that most waders have when they walk.  We have two littorals around our lake – one on each side.  A littoral is a miniature wetlands in which certain weeds and plants grow.  It invites many different birds who feed around water.  Insects, fish and snails are the mainstays in the food department for these birds.   Snails are the main food for Limpkins.

I happened to walk into the bedroom one day, glanced out the window, and saw a Limpkin meandering among the plants.  It occurred to me that it is a little late to see a Limpkin.  They usually make their appearances more frequently in the winter.  They are shy birds, but they want you to know they’re nearby because they aren’t quiet.  Their screeching could “wake the dead,” as the saying goes.

limpkin 2

Grabbed my camera and kept pressing the shutter button.

limpkin 3

Can you see the snail shell in the Limpkin’s beak?  Left click on the photo to enlarge.

I got many shots, and as I was shooting, I noticed a Common Moorhen came into the picture.  They are smaller dark colored birds that have bright red stripes down their faces and onto their top beaks.

limpkin 4

limpkin 5

After the Moorhen disappeared out of range, I realized the Limpkin still wasn’t alone.  Its mate was nearby.

limpkin 6

limpkin 7

Being a little shy upon seeing her mate?

limpkin 8

He seems anxious to see his mate.

limpkin 10

A sweet greeting.

He Looks Boring, But He’s Not

In case you are not aware, from reading previous blogs, I live in South Florida.  My house backs up to a lake (really small – some people call it a “pond”) and we have many different tropical birds that come to grace us with their presence. They seem to rotate with the change in weather and temperature.

One in particular, appears in the Spring and is still with us into the start of Summer.  It is called a “Limpkin.” I don’t know why; he doesn’t limp, but that is his official name.  He’s an interesting one.

The Limpkin

The Limpkin

He is a loner as a rule, but once in a while, he has a like kind “friend.”

Mr. and Mrs. Limpkin

Mr. and Mrs. Limpkin

His call is a shriek that will wake you up before dawn and continue nonstop for a long while, so that you cannot fall back asleep.  He seems to know when to do his dastardly deed.  We hardly ever hear him during the day; although, he can be seen around the lake.

Mr. Limpkin, wading in the lake.

Mr. Limpkin, shrieking and wading in the lake.


At times, he will flap his large wings a few times and sail onto someone’s rooftop.

LImpkin in flight toward someone's roof.

LImpkin in flight toward someone’s roof.

He isn’t a particularly beautiful tropical bird (some would say he’s boring as tropicals go):  his feathers are colored a medium brown, and some are spotted with white; however, when flying freely, he is so graceful.

So graceful when in free flight.

So graceful when in free flight.


Closeup of spotted feathers.

Closeup of spotted feathers.

Long legs allow him to wade in the water at the edge of the lake, looking for snails.  He is perfectly suited to look for snails along the edge of the lake where there is muddy, grassy areas in which to forage.  No, he’s not a snail shell collector in one sense, but is in another:  it’s his food of choice; rather, the snail that lodges in the shell.

His favorite (only) food.

His favorite (only) food.

It’s so interesting to watch him eat his food.  He really has to work hard for it.  It only starts with finding the snails.

He has a good hold on that snail.

He has a good hold on that snail.

Once the Limpkin grabs a snail in its long beak (only large snails will do),  it brings it up onto drier soil and pounds it onto the dirt like a jackhammer,  After only a few thrusts with the drill bit, it’s reward time!

Mama Limpkin is a good teacher for her young.

Mama Limpkin is a good teacher for her young.

We (myself and my neighbors) get our reward when he decides he has had enough of this neighborhood, flies off to “greener” pastures (er, lakes), and then we can awake on our own time!


[Images from bingdotcom]