Black Rail

Laterallus jamaicensis

Order

GRUIFORMES

Family

Rails and Coots (Rallidae)

Code 4

BLRA

Code 6

LATJAM

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Near Threatened

The Black Rail has a current evaluation of Near Threatened. The population of the Black Rail is thought to be declining moderately. While this bird can be found in many locales in the world, including North, Central and South America as well as the Caribbean, it is rarely seen in many specific locations. The global population of the Black Rail is not though to exceed 100,000 individual birds at this time, which is a decrease over the last decade.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Black Rail: Smallest North American rail, mostly dark gray or nearly black with white-speckled back, belly, flanks. Nape and upper back are chestnut-brown. Eyes are red. Eats seeds of aquatic plants, grasses and grains, insects and small marine crustaceans. Weak fluttering flight with legs dangling.


Range and Habitat

Black Rail: Nests on marshes and open grasslands from southern New England along the Atlantic coast to the Gulf coast states and also the coast of California. Scattered distribution inland. Spends winters from the southern Atlantic coast states south to Central America. Preferred habitats include marshes, swamps, and wet meadows.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"kic-kee-doo", "kic-kic-kerr"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • Measuring only about the size of a sparrow, they are the smallest North American rail.
  • The Black Rail is extinct or threatened in many locations due to habitat loss. The largest populations in North America are in Florida and California.
  • The name rail is derived from the Latin verb "raelare," which means "to scrape" and is a good description of one of the bird's vocalizations.
  • A group of rails are collectively known as a "hill" and a "rumor" of rails.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Black Rail

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Yury Lisyak

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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BellyX
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
NapeX
Also called the hindneck or collar, it is the back of the neck where the head joins the body.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X