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October 18, 2023

I photographed the Limpkin in Brooklyn (Queens), Nova Scotia. The late Dr. Ian Mclaren recorded four records in his masterwork, "All the Birds of Nova Scotia", so this would be our fifth record. The Limpkin is far from its preferred tropical and semitropical environment but it has found a nature garden here in Brooklyn (Queens) where there are lots of goodies to eat. Hopefully it will build its strength and fly south soon.

Courtesy of Wikipedia

Taxonomy and systematics

The limpkin is placed in the family Aramidae, which is in turn placed within the crane and rail order Gruiformes.[5] The limpkin had been suggested to be close to the ibis and spoonbill family Threskiornithidae, based upon shared bird lice. The Sibley–Ahlquist taxonomy of birds, based upon DNA–DNA hybridization, suggested that the limpkin's closest relatives were the Heliornithidae finfoots, and Sibley and Monroe even placed the species in that family in 1990.[6] More recent studies have found little support for this relationship.[7] More recent DNA studies have confirmed a close relationship with particularly the cranes,[8] with the limpkin remaining as a family close to the cranes and the two being sister taxa to the trumpeters.[9]

Although the limpkin is the only extant species in the family today, several fossils of extinct Aramidae are known from across the Americas. The earliest known species, Aramus paludigrus, is dated to the middle Miocene,[10] while the oldest supposed members of the family, Aminornis and Loncornis, have been found in early Oligocene deposits in Argentina, although whether these are indeed related is not certain;[7] in fact, Loncornis seems to be a misidentified mammal bone. Another Oligocene fossil from Europe, Parvigrus pohli (family Parvigruidae), has been described as a mosaic of the features shared by the limpkins and the cranes. It shares many morphological features with the cranes and limpkins, but also was much smaller than either group, and was more rail-like in its proportions. In the paper describing the fossil, Gerald Mayr suggested that it was similar to the stem species of the grues (the cranes and limpkins), and that the limpkins evolved massively long bills as a result of the specialisation to feeding on snails. In contrast, the cranes evolved into long-legged forms to walk and probe on open grasslands.[11]

Preferred Habitat



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