Virginia Rail

Rallus limicola

Order

GRUIFORMES

Family

Rails, Gallinules and Coots (Rallidae)

Code 4

VIRA

Code 6

RALLIM

ITIS

Egg Color:

White to buff with brown spots



Number of Eggs:

5 - 13



Incubation Days:

20



Egg Incubator:

Both sexes



Nest Location:

On ground.



Nest Material:

Grasses, reeds, and cattails., Aquatic vegetation.



Migration:

Migratory



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General

Virginia Rail: Medium-sized 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. Sexes are similar. Juvenile is darker.

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.

Breeding and Nesting

Virginia Rail: Five to thirteen brown-spotted, white to buff eggs are laid on a pile of matted reeds and layers of aquatic vegetation and grass. Usually nests in a dry area, but occasionally over mud or water. Both parents incubate eggs for about 20 days.

Foraging and Feeding

Virginia Rail: Diet includes insects and other invertebrates, aquatic plant seeds, and duckweed; forages on the ground or in shallow water.

Vocalization

Virginia Rail: Call includes grunts, squeaks, and rapidly descending notes "kid-ick, kid-ick, kid-ick" or "tic-tic-tic."

Similar Species

Virginia Rail: Black Rails has red eyes, white spots on back, and barred flanks.

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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