Sora Identification Tips
(Credit: U. S. Geological Survey)
General Information
- Fairly small, chunky, short-tailed, round-winged,
   ground-dwelling marsh bird
- Short, thick bill
- Most often seen walking, rarely flies
- Often flicks and cocks short tail while walking,
   exposing white undertail coverts
- Sexes similar

- Yellow bill
- Black lores and throat (paler in basic plumage)
- Blue-gray face, sides of neck, and breast
- Brownish cap, nape, hindneck, back and upperwings
- Whitish belly
- Dark brown and white barring on flanks

- Pale yellowish bill
- Buff-brown face, foreneck and breast; whitish throat
- Brownish cap, nape, hindneck, back and upperwings
- White spotting on back and upperwing coverts
- Flanks less distinctly barred with white and dark brown

Similar species
Adult Sora is distinctive with its short, thick yellowish bill, black face and dark gray and brown plumage. Immature is similar to the Yellow Rail but is larger, and has white undertail coverts and darker upperparts that are spotted with white rather than streaked with buff and black. In flight, the Yellow Rail shows white secondaries.
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