Chestnut-brown with white spots, the limpkin has a curved beak much like an ibis. It is one of Florida’s more rare birds, and has been listed on the protected species list.
Its diet consists mostly of the apple snail, although it will also eat freshwater mussels, insects, small frogs, and crustaceans.
Hunting of limpkins for their plumage brought the species to near-extinction in the past century.
However, several decades of protection from hunting helped bring back this unusual bird.
Another unexpected boost to limpkin populations in recent years is the introduction of invasive Chinese apple snails to our waters.
The limpkin is still threatened by the draining and damming of Florida’s wetlands, since it relies on shallow wetlands for its meals.
The limpkin’s cry is bloodcurdling. It sounds like someone is being attacked in the woods.