Common Name

Scientific Name


Photo by Jim Weis
Photo Courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

The sora, Porzana carolina, breeds in northern and western North America, and winters in the southern United States, Mexico, Central America, and northern South America. This rail is common in proper habitat throughout Utah during the summer, but is rarely found in the state during the winter. Its habitats are freshwater wetlands and wet fields. Its foods are aquatic invertebrates, such as snails and insects, and the seeds of wetland plants.

The nest of the sora is either on the ground or up to six inches above water, often among cattails or sedges. The five to eighteen eggs, usually eight to twelve, are incubated by both parents for about sixteen to twenty days. The eggs hatch asynchronously, and the precocial young leave the nest within three or four days of hatching. The young are tended by both parents, and become independent after twenty-one to twenty-five days; they are capable of flight about thirty-six days after hatching. The sora is an occasional brood parasite of other rail species.


  • Melvin , S. M., and J. P. Gibbs. 1996. Sora. Birds of North America 250: 1–19.

  • Baicich, P. J., and C. J. O. Harrison. 1997. A guide to the nests, eggs, and nestlings of North American birds. 2nd ed. Academic, San Diego. 347 pp.

  • Ehrlich, P. R., D. S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. The birder’s handbook[:] a field guide to the natural history of North American birds. Simon & Schuster, New York. xxx + 785 pp.