Your Florida Backyard NSiS Home Page Your Florida Backyard Rails, Gallinules, Coots
Photographs on this page courtesy of SFWMD
American Coots are found in fresh- and saltwater wetlands. They usually nest over water, often building numerous nests and using only one. They are quite territorial and noisy.
Purple Gallinules inhabit shallow freshwater wetlands with floating vegetation. They usually nest over water and build a ramp from the nest down to floating vegetation. They tend to live in family units of a dozen or more individuals with non-breeding members assisting in care of the young.
Common Moorhens inhabit freshwater marshes, lakes, and ponds. They usually build nests with ramps over water.
rail Clapper Rails, also known as Marsh Hens and Mud Hens, are more often heard than seen. They inhabit coastal marshes and mangroves. They nest in clumps of grasses or other vegetation sometimes building ramps.
Soras are also elusive. They are found in freshwater marshes and wet prairies. They build nests on or slightly above the water and occasionally in fields.

name area season diet/native food plants
American Coot
NCSSpSuFW-Baquatic vegetation*, algae, fish, insects
aquatic plants, grasses, sedge
Purple GallinuleNCS
seeds, fruit, plants, insects
aquatic plants, grasses
Common MoorhenNCSSpSuFW-Baquatic vegetation*, snails, seeds, fruit
aquatic plants
Clapper RailNCSSpSuFW-Baquatic invertebrates*, fish, insects, seeds
aquatic plants, oak, sedge
SoraNCSSpFWseeds*, aquatic invertebrates, insects
aquatic plants, grasses, sedge
N=north  C=central  S=south
Sp=spring  Su=summer  F=fall  W=winter
B=breeds in Florida during season(s) underlined  M=Migrant

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