Long-legged wading bird with short, rounded wings, short broad tail, and a long fattened, slightly down-curved bill. Feathers are dark brown, variably streaked with white; legs blackish-green; bill dark yellowish with a darker, grayish tip; eyes hazel brown.
These birds will build a flimsy nest of sticks in a bush or tree or on the ground. It has 4-8 pale creamy-buff or olive-buff eggs, spotted and blotched with various shades of brown and lilac. The eggs are incubated by both parents.
The Limpkin is the only member of its family, and looks like an ibis or an overgrown, long-legged member of the rail family; it also looks somewhat like a crane.
The Limpkin is a highly specialized feeder. Its main food over most of its range is a large freshwater snail, which is the apple snail. In some places, such as the Caribbean, it will eat small land animals when away from the water during periods of drought or flooding. It can switch to other prey such as land snails, earthworms, and slugs.
The long legs of the Limpkin bird allow it to wade deep into the water. Its long toes and long sharp claws allow it to perch and clamber about in the trees, and walk on floating mats of vegetation. It finds the snails by probing deep into the mud. It doesn’t eat them where they are found but they are carried back to shore. Once there, it will insert its bill into the snail’s shell and neatly cut the muscle before removing it from the shell and then it will enjoy its prey.