Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
Photo: Gaurika Wijeratne/Flickr (BY-NC-ND 2.0)
|Family||Rails, Gallinules, Coots|
|Habitat||Shallow freshwater wetlands, including marshes, ponds, and flooded fields. Also will forage in open grassy areas near water, such as lawns and golf courses.|
Forages mostly by wading along shorelines or in shallow marshes or wet fields, sometimes by climbing about in marsh vegetation, occasionally while swimming. Often stands on one foot and uses other foot to grasp plant stems and pull them up to beak.
Each breeding female lays 3-7 eggs, but multiple females may lay in same nest. Eggs are tan or buff with darker brown spots. Incubation is by both sexes, and probably takes about 3 weeks. Young: Fed by adults at first. May start to find some of their own food within a few days after hatching, but adults continue to feed them for several weeks.
Mostly plant material, including stalks, roots, leaves, and seeds of aquatic plants, especially spikerush in Florida. Also eats some insects, frogs, snails, and other small creatures, or scavenges food scraps left by humans.
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