is a large, slender, rust-colored marsh bird with a long bill and long toes. It is the largest North American rail. features an olive-brown upper body, reddish-brown breast and black-and-white barred flanks. Its tail is short and often lifted up. Females and males are similar, females generally are smaller than males. Females, on average weigh 11 to 13 ounces while males, on average, weigh 12 ounces.
Laterallus jamaicensis), but have dark (not red) eyes, a white bill and lack spotting on their backs. Juveniles are similar to adults, but markings are indistinguishable with variable amounts of black on their sides.chicks are downy and black in coloration. They can be confused for black rails (
Virgina rails (Rallus limicola) occur in the same habitats, are gray-cheeked, smaller versions of and lack the extensive barring on the sides of . Clapper rails (Rallus longirostris) are also similar to in appearance, but are smaller and have dull black-and-white stripes on the flanks. ("King Rail", 2001; "Rail", 2010; Darrah and Krementz, 2009; )
is a secretive marsh bird, thus little is known regarding behavior. It is a largely migratory species although some southern populations remain in the same location year-round. is nearly completely diurnal, but many nocturnal behaviors have been reported during the breeding season.
Exact territory size is currently unknown, but one study found a row of 3 nests located 298 ft and 166 ft from the next. (Meanley, 1957)
red fox, raccoons, mink, feral cats, and coyotes. Some adults are caught by predators such as great horned owls, northern harriers, and alligators. coloration allows for it to be well camouflaged from predators. It also can puff up and flutter around in the brush to try and scare off potential predators. ("King Rail", 2001; "King Rail, Life History", 2011; Poole, et al., 2005)is mostly preyed upon during the egg and juvenile stages of life. Predators of eggs and young include
There are no known negative effects ofon humans.
There are no known negative effects of king rails on humans.
Tressa Sellner (author), Minnesota State University, Mankato, Robert Sorensen (editor), Minnesota State University, Mankato, Rachelle Sterling (editor), Special Projects.
living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.
living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.
uses sound to communicate
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
a wetland area rich in accumulated plant material and with acidic soils surrounding a body of open water. Bogs have a flora dominated by sedges, heaths, and sphagnum.
areas with salty water, usually in coastal marshes and estuaries.
an animal that mainly eats meat
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
the nearshore aquatic habitats near a coast, or shoreline.
having markings, coloration, shapes, or other features that cause an animal to be camouflaged in its natural environment; being difficult to see or otherwise detect.
animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.
an area where a freshwater river meets the ocean and tidal influences result in fluctuations in salinity.
parental care is carried out by females
mainly lives in water that is not salty.
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
parental care is carried out by males
marshes are wetland areas often dominated by grasses and reeds.
makes seasonal movements between breeding and wintering grounds
Having one mate at a time.
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.
Referring to something living or located adjacent to a waterbody (usually, but not always, a river or stream).
specialized for leaping or bounding locomotion; jumps or hops.
mainly lives in oceans, seas, or other bodies of salt water.
breeding is confined to a particular season
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
a wetland area that may be permanently or intermittently covered in water, often dominated by woody vegetation.
uses touch to communicate
that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).
Living on the ground.
defends an area within the home range, occupied by a single animals or group of animals of the same species and held through overt defense, display, or advertisement
the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.
A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.
A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.
A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.
uses sight to communicate
young are relatively well-developed when born
2011. "King Rail, Life History" (On-line). The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Accessed May 01, 2011 at http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/King_Rail/lifehistory.
2001. "King Rail" (On-line). Michigan Natural Features Inventory. Accessed May 01, 2011 at http://web4.msue.msu.edu/mnfi/abstracts/zoology/Rallus_elegans.pdf.
2010. Rail. Pp. 1 in Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, 1 Edition. Online: Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia. Accessed May 01, 2011 at http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.mnsu.edu/ehost/detail?vid=2&hid=9&sid=674c860c-54d9-4859-8957-b33b5a949e8a%40sessionmgr14&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d.
Darrah, A., D. Krementz. 2009. Distribution and Habitat Use of King Rails in the Illinoirs and Upper Mississippi River Valleys. Journal of Wildlife Management, 8: 1380-1386. Accessed May 01, 2011 at http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.mnsu.edu/ehost/detail?sid=814c9353-7fac-4260-be9f-2f3c78e3978e%40sessionmgr15&vid=1&hid=9&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d.
Meanley, B. 1957. Notes on the courtship behavior of the king rail. The Auk, 74: 433-440.
Poole, A., L. Befier, C. Marantz, B. Meanley. 2005. "Birds of North America Online" (On-line). King Rail (Rallus elegans). Accessed May 01, 2011 at http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/003.