King Rail

Rallus elegans

Order

GRUIFORMES

Family

Rails, Gallinules and Coots (Rallidae)

Code 4

KIRA

Code 6

RALELE

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The King Rail is evaluated as Least Concern. This rating was downgraded from a prior rating of Lower Risk. This bird species is native to Cuba, Canada, Mexico and the United States. It is also a visitor to Jamaica and Guatemala. The range of this bird species is about 3 million square kilometers. The population of the King Rail has not been quantified at this time. This bird is considered to be common enough within its native range that it is not believed to be facing any immediate dangers that would threaten this bird within the immediate future.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

King Rail: Large rail with long, orange-based bill. Brown and red-brown mottled upperparts. Underparts are orange-brown with strongly barred black, white flanks. Prominent chestnut-brown patch on wing is visible on standing and flying birds. Feeds in shallow water or mudflats exposed at low tide.


Range and Habitat

King Rail: Prefer fresh water, but will also use brackish and tidal wetlands, along the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts from Texas to New York. Common on the Gulf Coast, local and rare further inland. Northern birds migrate to the southern parts of their range for the winter. Found in extensive wetlands with shallow water, and a mosaic of plant species, such as grasses, cattails and sedges.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"kek"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The King Rail was first described in 1834 by John James Audubon, an American ornithologist, naturalist, and painter. It it is the largest North American rail.
  • It usually gets its food in aquatic habitats, but will feed on insects away from water. When it catches food on land, it often takes the item to water and dunks it before eating it.
  • They interbreed with the Clapper Rail where their ranges overlap; some researchers believe that these two birds belong to the same species.
  • A group of rails are collectively known as a "hill" and a "rumor" of rails.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for King Rail

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

David Wenzel

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X