Virginia Rail

Rallus limicola

Order

GRUIFORMES

Family

Rails and Coots (Rallidae)

Code 4

VIRA

Code 6

RALLIM

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Virginia Rail has a large range, estimated globally at 5,500,000 square kilometers. Native to the Americas and vagrant to Greenland, this bird prefers inland wetland ecosystems such as swamps, fens, bogs, marshes, and peatlands. The global population of this bird has not been determined but does not show signs of decline that would necessitate inclusion on the IUCN Red List. For this reason, the current evaluation status of the Virginia Rail is Least Concern.

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PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Virginia Rail: Medium rail with brown-and-black mottled upperparts, white throat, rust-brown breast, and black-and-white barred belly. Head has black crown, gray face, and white eyebrows. Bill is long, red-brown, and curved down. Legs are orange-brown. Tail is short, black above, and white below.


Range and Habitat

Virginia Rail: Breeds from southern British Columbia to Newfoundland to northwestern Baja California, southern Arizona, west-central Texas, Missouri, Ohio, North Carolina, central Mexico, and South America. Winters from southern British Columbia to northern Baja California, and north to the Gulf Coast and North Carolina. Prefers freshwater marshes with cattails, reeds, and deep grass.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"kid-ick, kid-ick, kid-ick", "tic-tic-tic"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • Like other rails, the Virginia Rail prefers to escape danger by running through marsh vegetation rather than flying. If forced to fly in order to escape it will only fly a short distance. Regardless of its apparent weak flight, it migrates long distances each year.
  • Because they are reclusive birds and quick runners, Virginia Rails are rarely seen and many of their characteristics and behaviors have not been documented.
  • A group of Virginia Rails are collectively known as a "reel" of rails.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Virginia 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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UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
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.
BreastX
The upper front part of a bird.
CrownX
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
FaceX
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X