Courlan, a large wading bird, of the genus aramus (Vieill.), the only one of its family, which most authors place among the rails (ral-lidce). The North American courlan, or crying bird (A. giganteus, Baird), is 27 1/2 inches long; bill 5 1/4, much compressed, curved at the tip; head fully feathered; tarsus 5 inches, and tibia half bare; wings broad and rounded, 13 inches long; toes cleft to the base; hind toe long; general color chocolate brown, each feather, except the quills, streaked centrally with white; chin and upper part of throat whitish. Its flight is short and heavy, from the small concave wings, but it is a very rapid runner even on soft ground. Its note is a kind of cackle. It inhabits Florida and the West Indies. The nest is attached to reeds near the bayous, at a height above all danger from inundation; the eggs are five or six, large for the size of the bird. Its food consists principally of a large green snail which abounds in the everglades of Florida. The flesh of the young is good eating.

The South American bird (A. scolopaceus, Yieill.) much resembles the former, but is larger, and the white streaks are mostly confined to the head and neck; the latter is the one figured by Audubon.

Courlan (Aramus scolopaceus).

Courlan (Aramus scolopaceus).