Porzana Carolina – Sora

Porzana Carolina - Sora found in the US

The sora, Porzana carolina is a tiny waterbird belonging to the Rallidae family. It is also known as the sora rail or sora crake. Porzana and Carolina are both derived from Venetian names for little rails. Porzana alludes to the Carolina Colony. The name “Sora” is most likely derived from a Native American language.

Quick Overview: Porzana Carolina – Sora
Body size: Around 8-10 in (20-25 cm) and a weight of 126 g (4.44 oz)
Main colors: Black, Yellow, Gray, Brown, White, Yellow- Green
Range: Throughout the United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: June, July, August, September
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Sora Description

The sora’s breeding plumage includes a black throat and face, as well as a short, yellowish bill. Gray is the color of the breasts and the nape of the neck. The back is mottled brown, while the belly is barred in black and white. Immature and non-breeding plumages are more basic and buff in color, with no black on the throat or face. The throat is white and the breasts are light brown when the bird is in this plumage. It has yellowish-green legs. While walking and flying, the tail is typically held erect.

Porzana Carolina - Sora found in the US
Porzana Carolina – Sora. Photo by: Becky Matsubara


These birds have a length of 8-10 in (20-25 cm) and a weight of 126 g (4.44 oz). Their wings could range from 12-14.5 in (30-37 cm).


The diet is primarily comprised of seeds, insects, and snails. Seeds are collected from sedges grasses and other wetland species. Snails and insects are collected from the ground or by probing soft mud and vegetation with their bill.


Throughout its range, the sora lives in freshwater wetland habitats; it also uses salt marshes for overwintering. The preferred habitat provides substantial shelter for breeding soras and consists primarily of freshwater marshes with dense stands of cattail, sedge, and other tall wetland plants.


The sora is frequently heard but rarely seen in a variety of wetlands throughout its habitat. As with other rails, the sora is a shy animal, preferring to hide in the deep vegetation of its marsh home. Individuals startled will occasionally flee to shelter, flying with apparent frailty but great dexterity. Rather than being observed, it is more customary for sora to withdraw silently into concealment. The sora communicates often, whistling and whinnying in response to other soras and other rails.

Porzana Carolina Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Gruiformes
  • Family: Rallidae
  • Genus: Porzana
  • Species: Porzana carolina

Best time of the year to see

The best time to see these birds in the United States is during the summer season (June – September).

Distribution of the Barred owl in the USA

Breeds from southeastern Alaska to Newfoundland, and south to northwestern California, southern New Mexico, eastern Colorado, Iowa, central Ohio, and Maryland on a local basis. Winters in central California, southern Texas, and the Gulf Coast states, and further south across Central America and South America.

The XXX bird can be found in the following states in the United States – Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Porzana Carolina – Sora

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