Photos of a Limpkin Family in Florida
If you live in Florida or visit there, you'll love the variety of birds you'll see. The limpkin lives in swampy areas or near water. Considered somewhat reclusive, it's not hard to spot one in Central Florida. I'm not sure why it's considered a shy bird.
I'm fortunate to live in a retirement community in Florida which has plenty of habitat for wild birds like the limpkin. Living here has turned me into an avid birdwatcher. I keep my camera with me at all times so I can capture the scenes that make Solivita such a beautiful place for animal lovers.
Here I'll profile a family of limpkins, an ordinary, even nondescript bird, that can be fascinating as you observe it more closely and learn about its life. The photos shown here are my own pictures taken with a Canon SX20 IS.
Here's a Limpkin Parent with an Almost Grown Chick
Seeing the Limpkin Family
Today while playing the Cypress Course in Solivita, we were privileged to spot a family of limpkins. It was hard to get a count of the fuzzy chicks as they kept moving around. Both parents were present and feeding the babies with freshwater mussels along the edge of the lake. From the number of mussel shells scattered on the shore, I’d say it was a regular feeding area for these large brown birds.
When I first saw these rather plain birds, I looked them up in a Florida birding guide and found they were called limpkins. The name comes from their somewhat awkward, halting gait. The book said they are reclusive and usually hidden away in the deep swamps. I guess the Solivita limpkins didn’t read the same book, as over the seven years that we’ve been in Florida, we see them regularly in open areas around the water.
They have a striking call that can be rather annoying if a love-lorn limpkin decides to hang out in your yard while calling incessantly for a mate. The fortunate part is they quickly pair up and proceed to the nesting stage of their relationship which is much quieter. This is the first time I got to see the limpkin chicks.
Looking super-cute and huggable, they seem like the avian equivalent of teddy bears.
Here are a series of photos showing the parents feeding the limpkin chicks. I think there were about six or even seven babies in this family. Fortunately, I had my camera handy in the golf cart and was able to get these photos while the guys were teeing off. Don’t worry, I didn’t delay play at all.
Notice all the shells along the shore where the limpkins and chicks have been feeding.
Limpkin Family - Click on Each Photo to See It Larger
Description of the Bird
The parent has a sleek profile with milk-chocolate brown feathers and white spots across the body. On the long neck, the white appears more as flecks in with the brown. It has long legs for wading with knobby knees.
It has a yellow beak. The beak is quite long but not as curved as the ibis beak. The long beak works ideally to pick up mussels in shallow water and force them open.
The baby limpkin is a brown fluff ball. It shows the knobby knees and legs that will grow quickly. The baby shown here has lighter coloring around the beak and eyes but many of the chicks are dark around the face.
My Photos for Identifying Florida Water Birds
- Identify the Water Birds
It can be confusing to tell the Florida water birds apart. Here are tips on what to look for so you can distinguish by size, markings, beaks and even behavior.
You'll Want a Good Guide to Learn the Names
The photos in this guide are outstanding, as you would expect of National Geographic. A solid reference for your bookshelf.
What Do Limpkins Eat?
I'm still not sure how the limpkin opens these fresh water mussels. Possibly the beak is strong enough to pop it open. They aren't broken, just open and empty after they has been feeding.
The photo shows the limpkin parent with a mussel in its beak feeding the chick. On the ground you'll see the mussel shell.
Both parents participate in feeding their brood.
Video of the Limpkin Feeding a Young Bird
Video of a Limpkin Calling
Usually the limpkin is pretty quiet and reclusive bird. During the mating season, they seem to call quite a bit. Once they settle down with a nest and later chicks, they are quiet again.
Our neighbor says they wake him up with their calls. I must be a better sleeper than he is.
Have You Seen or Heard Limpkins?
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Older Limpkin Chicks - With Their Parents (Photos by Virginia Allain)
You Can Even Get Limpkin Babies on a Postcard
Limpkins on the Roof
© 2011 Virginia Allain