Family Rails, Gallinules, Coots (Rallidae)

Least Concern

Sora (Porzana carolina)


French: Marouette de Caroline German: Carolinasumpfhuhn Spanish: Polluela sora
Other common names: Sora Rail

Rallus carolinus


, 1758,

Hudson Bay, Canada




SE Alaska, S Canada and much of USA. Winters from S USA, Mexico and West Indies S to C Peru and E to Guyana.

Descriptive notes

19–25 cm; unsexed 51–126 (85) g; wingspan 35–40 cm. Black mask and small white patch behind eye. Sexes similar but female slightly smaller, with darker bill... read more


Characteristic breeding-season territorial and contact call, given by both sexes, a high-pitched... read more


Preferred habitats throughout year are freshwater emergent wetlands but often occurs in marshes of... read more

Food and feeding

Omnivorous; common plant foods include duckweed (Lemna), and seeds of wild or cultivated rice (Zizania), Polygonum... read more


USA Apr–Jul. Monogamous and territorial; pair-bond maintained during breeding season. Nest a loosely woven basket of available... read more


Migratory. Movement begins late summer and early autumn, when birds gather in numbers around lakes... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Most abundant and widely distributed North American rail. Current population trends uncertain, but habitat continues to decline... read more

Recommended citation

Taylor, B. (2019). Sora (Porzana carolina). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 11 December 2019).