Discover the Rarest Bird That Calls Ohio Home

Limpkin catching a mollusc (Aramus guarauna), Florida, United states
© Luca Nichetti/

Written by Alanna Davis

Published: February 29, 2024

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For some, the hobby of bird watching never crosses their mind while others are utterly devoted to it. No matter what side of the fence you find yourself on, one thing is for certain: it’s newsworthy when a rare bird passes by. The state of Ohio got a shock in 2019 when a bird that had never previously visited before made an appearance several times. Whether you’re an avid bird watcher or just someone curious about wildlife in Ohio, the story of this rare bird is one you’ll want to hear.

What Is the Rarest Bird in Ohio?

There are roughly 500 different species of birds that are native to Ohio.

©gguy44/iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

Although several rare birds have passed through Ohio throughout the years, none are as rare as the Limpkin. In fact, it was only spotted a handful of times in 2019, and it hasn’t been reported since. Although this bird isn’t uncommon in states like Florida and Georgia, it seldom ventures this far outside of the South. For one to travel as far as Ohio is an impressive feat. Locals felt this way as well, and this event made the news when people began reporting sightings. According to Cleveland 19, the individual who first saw this bird felt like they “hit the lottery,” due to the sheer rarity of this event.

Why Was a Limpkin in Ohio?

Limpkin catching a mollusc (Aramus guarauna), Florida, United states

Limpkins are native to Florida and Georgia.

©Luca Nichetti/

Although many people who saw this bird in Ohio believed this to be caused by strong winds and hurricanes down south, this was not the case. Instead, experts believe that this Limpkin traveled so far up north due to post-breeding dispersal. If you’re unfamiliar with this term, it’s a phenomenon that occurs after breeding in certain bird species. If the habitat they find themselves in isn’t favorable, some birds choose to flee to a place with better conditions instead. In this case, these Limpkins decided that Ohio was a nice place to settle down, at least for a little while. The likelihood is that these birds returned to the South as soon as colder temperatures came in.

Final Thoughts

Even though they were only in Ohio for a short time, these Limpkins made waves upon their arrival. With any luck, they’ll make their way back and enter the news once again sometime soon. Other rare birds that have visited this state include the snowy owl, white ibis, and Gyrfalcon. Individuals interested in seeing these animals for themselves can join a bird sighting group to get live updates.

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About the Author

Alanna is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering insects, animals, and travel. In addition to writing, she spends her time tutoring English and exploring the east end of Long Island. Prior to receiving her Bachelor's in Economics from Stony Brook University, Alanna spent much of her time studying entomology and insect biology.

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