We first observed Sora (Porzana carolina) swimming and diving under water while capturing them with hand nets at night. Since that time, we have observed the behavior several times and documented it with photos and video. Rails are among the most elusive birds. Despite living in wetlands, water depth has often been discussed as a factor limiting habitat use by rails, with the assumption that when water levels are too deep, rails walk on top of floating or emergent vegetation. Here we present new photo and video evidence that confirms previous observations that Sora are adept at swimming and diving in deep water wetland environments, which should alter how we think about their ability to avoid predators and use deeper water habitats.
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