Rallus elegans - Audubon, 1834
King Rail
Other English Common Names: king rail
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Rallus elegans Audubon, 1834 (TSN 176207)
French Common Names: Râle élégant
Spanish Common Names: Rascón Real
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.962122
Element Code: ABNME05070
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Other Birds
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Gruiformes Rallidae Rallus
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). Chesser, R.T., R.C. Banks, C. Cicero, J.L. Dunn, A.W. Kratter, I.J. Lovette, A.G. Navarro-Sigüenza, P.C. Rasmussen, J.V. Remsen, Jr., J.D. Rising, D.F. Stotz, and K.Winker. 2014. Fifty-Fifth Supplement to the American Ornithologists' Union Check-list of North American Birds. The Auk 131(4):1-15.
Concept Reference Code: A14AOU01EHUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Rallus elegans
Taxonomic Comments: Rallus tenuirostris was formerly considered conspecific with R. elegans, but they are not sister taxa (Maley and Brumfield 2013) (AOU 2014).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G4
Global Status Last Reviewed: 08Apr2014
Global Status Last Changed: 12Dec2002
Rounded Global Status: G4 - Apparently Secure
Reasons: Widespread, but has declined significantly in the northern part of its range and may be declining throughout its range. Threatened primarily by habitat loss and degradation.
Nation: United States
National Status: N4B,N4N (12Dec2002)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N2B,NNRM (08Jan2018)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S2S3B,S4N), Arkansas (S1B,S3N), Connecticut (S1B), Delaware (S2), District of Columbia (S2N), Florida (S3S4), Georgia (S3), Illinois (S2), Indiana (S1B), Iowa (S1N), Kansas (S2B), Kentucky (S1B), Louisiana (S3B,S4N), Maine (S1?N), Maryland (S3S4B,S2N), Massachusetts (S1B,S1N), Michigan (S2), Minnesota (S1B,SNRM), Mississippi (S3), Missouri (S1), Nebraska (S1), New Hampshire (SHB), New Jersey (S3B,S4N), New York (S1B), North Carolina (S3B,S3N), Ohio (S1), Oklahoma (S1B), Pennsylvania (S1B), Rhode Island (S1B,S1N), South Carolina (SNR), South Dakota (S1S2B), Tennessee (S2), Texas (S3B), Virginia (S2B,S3N), West Virginia (SHB), Wisconsin (S1B)
Canada Ontario (S2B)

Other Statuses

Canadian Species at Risk Act (SARA) Schedule 1/Annexe 1 Status: E (05Jun2003)
Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC): Endangered (06May2011)
Comments on COSEWIC: Reason for designation: This large member of the rail family is associated with marshes of various description - especially those that are large and relatively complex. Its breeding range extends from southern Ontario through much of the eastern U.S. In Canada, precise information on the population size, population trend, and breeding distribution of this rare and secretive species is somewhat limited. Nevertheless, the best available evidence indicates that the Canadian population remains small (fewer than 100 individuals). The major threat is degradation of high-quality marsh habitats across its range.

Status history: Designated Special Concern in April 1985. Status re-examined and designated Endangered in April 1994. Status re-examined and confirmed in November 2000 and in May 2011.

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: BREEDS: locally from Kansas, eastern Nebraska, Iowa, and Minnesota east across the northern U.S. and southern Ontario to southern New England, south to southern Texas, southern Louisiana, central Mississippi, central Alabama and southern Florida; Cuba and Isle of Pines; and interior of Mexico (regarded as Clapper Rail, R. longirostris, by Sibley and Monroe 1990). The greatest densities occur in the Atlantic and Gulf coast marshes, and in the rice belts of Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas (Meanley 1969). WINTERS: primarily north to southern Texas and Florida; primary wintering areas include the Florida peninsula, Gulf and Atlantic coasts, and Lower Mississippi Valley (Brewer et al. 1991).

Area of Occupancy: 126 to >12,500 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: With an unknown population size, the estimate for the area of occupancy necessitates a wide range.

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300
Number of Occurrences Comments: Moderately widespread. In Canada, breeds regularly or somewhat regularly in only a few sites in southern Ontario (Page 1994). The Breeding Bird Atlas for Florida project from 1986 to 1991 found 81 probable or confirmed nesting sites within just Florida (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 2003).

Population Size: 2500 to >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Restricted in Canada to only a few dozen pairs in southern Ontario (Page 1994). Population size is basically unknown (e.g., Birdlife International, 2014; Poole, Bevier, Maranta, and Meanley, 2005).

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Some to very many (13 to >125)
Viability/Integrity Comments: At least two states in the southeast (Louisiana and Georgia) consider the King Rail populations within their state to be secure (NatureServe, 2014).

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Decline in Midwest has been due to habitat destruction and drainage of wetlands (Brewer et al. 1991). Perhaps environmental contaminants and unnaturally high densities of predators such as raccoons also have negatively impacted populations. BBS data 1980-2002 show King Rail led the list of declining species in the US during that period (-7.9%/yr). The data suggest significant loss of numbers in this species (Poole, et. al. 2005).

Short-term Trend: Decline of 30-70%
Short-term Trend Comments: Severe declines have been reported in the northern part of the range (Meanley 1992, Brewer et al. 1992). Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data for 1980-2000 indicate a significant 7.8% annual decline in North America, although there are statistical problems with this analysis and the BBS is not well suited for monitoring this species (Sauer et al. 2001). Declines were reported for all states except Florida. Ten years ago populations appeared to be stable in southern areas, especially in Louisiana and Florida (Meanley 1992).

Specific areas of "alarming" declines include: southwestern shore of Lake Erie, the marshes of northwestern Iowa, Maryland's western shore, the Smyrna River marshes of Delaware, and the Arkansas rice belt (Meanley 1969, Eddleman et al. 1988, Meanley 1992).The latest Breeding Bird Survey results estimate a 4.5% decline per year over the last 10 years (from 2002 - 2012), a 37% decline (Sauer, et. al. 2014).

Long-term Trend: Decline of >70%
Long-term Trend Comments: In Missouri, was common 100 years ago, now rare and endangered, essentially restricted to one refuge (Reid 1989); similar pattern elsewhere in the Midwest (Eddleman et al. 1988).

Over the term 1966-2000, Breeding Bird Survey data indicate a major decline spread over all areas; survey-wide the decline was estimated at 6.2% annually through that period (Sauer et al. 2001). The small sample sizes give rise to statistical problems, however, and the data should be treated with caution. Breeding Bird Survey routes estimate a 85% decline over the last 40 years (Birdlife International, 2014).

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Highly to moderately vulnerable.
Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: The preferred shallow and seasonally-flooded sites used by King Rails for nesting are the sites most easily drained and impacted by agriculture (Poole, et. al. 2005).

Environmental Specificity: Very narrow to moderate.
Environmental Specificity Comments: This species requires floodplain habitats (Poole, et. al. 2005).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: A global-wide inventory of the population of this species is still needed, which is difficult because of the secretive nature of rails.

Protection Needs: Eddleman et al. (1988) made the following protection recommendations for North American rallids: enforce the 1985 Farm Act to protect wetlands from agricultural damage; accelerate USFWS acquisition of wetlands with high elevational diversity and high percentage of emergent vegetation; resume congressional funding of the Accelerated Research Program for Migratory and Upland Game Birds to fund research on habitat management; institute a USFWS hunting stamp for hunting rails and other migratory game birds other than waterfowl (this would facilitate contacting the harvesting public for data and provide funds for habitat protection); review status of king rail; integrate the management of national wildlife refuges so as to provide habitat not only for waterfowl but also for rails and other waterbirds.

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) BREEDS: locally from Kansas, eastern Nebraska, Iowa, and Minnesota east across the northern U.S. and southern Ontario to southern New England, south to southern Texas, southern Louisiana, central Mississippi, central Alabama and southern Florida; Cuba and Isle of Pines; and interior of Mexico (regarded as Clapper Rail, R. longirostris, by Sibley and Monroe 1990). The greatest densities occur in the Atlantic and Gulf coast marshes, and in the rice belts of Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas (Meanley 1969). WINTERS: primarily north to southern Texas and Florida; primary wintering areas include the Florida peninsula, Gulf and Atlantic coasts, and Lower Mississippi Valley (Brewer et al. 1991).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The maps for birds represent the breeding status by state and province. In some jurisdictions, the subnational statuses for common species have not been assessed and the status is shown as not-assessed (SNR). In some jurisdictions, the subnational status refers to the status as a non-breeder; these errors will be corrected in future versions of these maps. A species is not shown in a jurisdiction if it is not known to breed in the jurisdiction or if it occurs only accidentally or casually in the jurisdiction. Thus, the species may occur in a jurisdiction as a seasonal non-breeding resident or as a migratory transient but this will not be indicated on these maps. See other maps on this web site that depict the Western Hemisphere ranges of these species at all seasons of the year.
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, WI, WV
Canada ON

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AR Ashley (05003), Desha (05041), Jackson (05067)*, Pulaski (05119)
CT Fairfield (09001)*, Litchfield (09005), Middlesex (09007), New Haven (09009)*, New London (09011), Windham (09015)
DE Kent (10001)
GA Appling (13001), Cook (13075), Greene (13133), Oconee (13219), Stewart (13259)
IA Allamakee (19005), Clay (19041), Greene (19073)*, Jackson (19097), Louisa (19115), Sac (19161)*
IL Brown (17009), Cook (17031), DuPage (17043), Fulton (17057), Grundy (17063)*, Jasper (17079), Lake (17097), Marion (17121), Mason (17125)*, Mchenry (17111), Peoria (17143), Perry (17145)*, Putnam (17155)*, Richland (17159), Shelby (17173), Wayne (17191), Will (17197), Winnebago (17201)*
IN Benton (18007), Boone (18011), Delaware (18035)*, Dubois (18037), Elkhart (18039)*, Fulton (18049)*, Gibson (18051), Greene (18055), Henry (18065), Jackson (18071)*, Jennings (18079)*, Johnson (18081), Kosciusko (18085), La Porte (18091), Lake (18089), Lawrence (18093)*, Madison (18095)*, Marion (18097)*, Marshall (18099), Montgomery (18107)*, Newton (18111), Pike (18125)*, Porter (18127), Pulaski (18131), Putnam (18133)*, Ripley (18137)*, Starke (18149), Steuben (18151)*, Sullivan (18153), Tippecanoe (18157), Union (18161)*, Warrick (18173), Wayne (18177)*
KS Comanche (20033), Douglas (20045), Kiowa (20097), Linn (20107), Stafford (20185)
KY Clinton (21053)*, Fulton (21075), Henderson (21101), Jefferson (21111)*
MA Barnstable (25001), Berkshire (25003), Bristol (25005)*, Essex (25009), Middlesex (25017), Plymouth (25023), Worcester (25027)
MI Allegan (26005)*, Barry (26015)*, Bay (26017), Berrien (26021)*, Branch (26023)*, Calhoun (26025)*, Clinton (26037)*, Eaton (26045)*, Emmet (26047)*, Grand Traverse (26055)*, Gratiot (26057), Huron (26063), Ingham (26065)*, Isabella (26073)*, Jackson (26075)*, Kent (26081)*, Lapeer (26087)*, Livingston (26093)*, Macomb (26099), Marquette (26103)*, Monroe (26115), Ottawa (26139)*, Roscommon (26143)*, Saginaw (26145), Sanilac (26151)*, Schoolcraft (26153)*, St. Clair (26147), Van Buren (26159)*, Washtenaw (26161)*, Wayne (26163)*
MN Houston (27055)*, Jackson (27063), Lyon (27083)*, Martin (27091)*, Mcleod (27085), Nicollet (27103)*, Sibley (27143)*, Wabasha (27157), Watonwan (27165)*, Winona (27169)*
MO Adair (29001), Holt (29087), Lincoln (29113), Pike (29163), Platte (29165), Saline (29195), St. Charles (29183)
MS Hancock (28045), Jackson (28059), Madison (28089), Noxubee (28103), Oktibbeha (28105), Rankin (28121)
NE Fillmore (31059)*, Garden (31069), Keith (31101), Lancaster (31109), Seward (31159)*
NJ Morris (34027), Sussex (34037), Warren (34041)
NY Albany (36001), Cayuga (36011), Clinton (36019), Dutchess (36027), Essex (36031), Genesee (36037), Greene (36039), Niagara (36063), Oswego (36075), Seneca (36099), Ulster (36111), Westchester (36119)
OH Lucas (39095), Madison (39097), Marion (39101), Ottawa (39123), Union (39159)
OK Comanche (40031), Tillman (40141)
PA Berks (42011)*, Butler (42019), Chester (42029)*, Crawford (42039)*, Lancaster (42071)*, Lawrence (42073), Mercer (42085), Monroe (42089)*, Philadelphia (42101), Union (42119)*
RI Newport (44005)*, Washington (44009)
SD Bennett (46007)*, Moody (46101)*
TN Blount (47009)*, Grundy (47061), Hamilton (47065)
VA Augusta (51015), Fairfax (51059), King William (51101), Loudoun (51107), Northampton (51131), Prince William (51153), Stafford (51179), Virginia Beach (City) (51810)
WI Columbia (55021), Dane (55025), Dodge (55027), Fond Du Lac (55039), Green Lake (55047), Marinette (55075), Marquette (55077), Monroe (55081), Outagamie (55087), Pepin (55091), Racine (55101), Waukesha (55133), Wood (55141)
WV Cabell (54011)*, Jefferson (54037)*, Mason (54053)*
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Merrimack (01070002)+*, Nashua (01070004)+, Concord (01070005)+, Chicopee (01080204)+, Lower Connecticut (01080205)+, Charles (01090001)+, Cape Cod (01090002)+, Narragansett (01090004)+, Pawcatuck-Wood (01090005)+, Shetucket (01100002)+, Thames (01100003)+*, Quinnipiac (01100004)+*, Housatonic (01100005)+, Saugatuck (01100006)+*
02 Middle Hudson (02020006)+, Rondout (02020007)+, Lower Hudson (02030101)+, Bronx (02030102)+, Hackensack-Passaic (02030103)+, Long Island Sound (02030203)+*, Middle Delaware-Mongaup-Brodhead (02040104)+, Middle Delaware-Musconetcong (02040105)+, Lehigh (02040106)+*, Lower Delaware (02040202)+, Schuylkill (02040203)+*, Brandywine-Christina (02040205)+*, Broadkill-Smyrna (02040207)+, Eastern Lower Delmarva (02040304)+, Lower West Branch Susquehanna (02050206)+*, Lower Susquehanna (02050306)+*, South Fork Shenandoah (02070005)+, Shenandoah (02070007)+*, Middle Potomac-Catoctin (02070008)+, Middle Potomac-Anacostia-Occoquan (02070010)+, Lower Potomac (02070011)+, Pamunkey (02080106)+
03 Albemarle (03010205)+, Upper Oconee (03070101)+, Altamaha (03070106)+, Little Satilla (03070202)+, withlacoochee (03110203)+, Little (03110204)+, Middle Chattahoochee-Walter F. George Reservoir (03130003)+, Noxubee (03160108)+, Pascagoula (03170006)+, Mississippi Coastal (03170009)+, Middle Pearl-Strong (03180002)+, Lower Pearl. Mississippi (03180004)+
04 Dead-Kelsey (04020105)+*, Betsy-Chocolay (04020201)+*, Peshtigo (04030105)+, Upper Fox (04030201)+, Wolf (04030202)+, Lake Winnebago (04030203)+, Little Calumet-Galien (04040001)+, St. Joseph (04050001)+*, Black-Macatawa (04050002)+*, Kalamazoo (04050003)+*, Upper Grand (04050004)+*, Maple (04050005)+, Lower Grand (04050006)+*, Thornapple (04050007)+*, Muskegon (04060102)+*, Boardman-Charlevoix (04060105)+*, Manistique (04060106)+*, Cheboygan (04070004)+*, Kawkawlin-Pine (04080102)+, Birch-Willow (04080104)+*, Pine (04080202)+*, Saginaw (04080206)+, Lake Huron (04080300)+, St. Clair (04090001)+*, Lake St. Clair (04090002)+, Detroit (04090004)+*, Huron (04090005)+, Ottawa-Stony (04100001)+, Raisin (04100002)+*, Cedar-Portage (04100010)+, Sandusky (04100011)+, Niagara (04120104)+, Oak Orchard-Twelvemile (04130001)+, Seneca (04140201)+, Oneida (04140202)+, Lake Champlain (04150408)+
05 Shenango (05030102)+, Connoquenessing (05030105)+, Upper Scioto (05060001)+, Whitewater (05080003)+*, Raccoon-Symmes (05090101)+*, Middle Ohio-Laughery (05090203)+*, Tippecanoe (05120106)+, Middle Wabash-Little Vermilion (05120108)+, Middle Wabash-Busseron (05120111)+, Lower Wabash (05120113)+, Little Wabash (05120114)+, Skillet (05120115)+, Upper White (05120201)+, Lower White (05120202)+, Driftwood (05120204)+, Upper East Fork White (05120206)+*, Muscatatuck (05120207)+*, Lower East Fork White (05120208)+*, Patoka (05120209)+, Upper Cumberland-Lake Cumberland (05130103)+*, Obey (05130105)+*, Silver-Little Kentucky (05140101)+*, Highland-Pigeon (05140202)+
06 Watts Bar Lake (06010201)+*, Middle Tennessee-Chickamauga (06020001)+, Upper Elk (06030003)+
07 South Fork Crow (07010205)+, Hawk-Yellow Medicine (07020004)+*, Middle Minnesota (07020007)+*, Blue Earth (07020009)+*, Watonwan (07020010)+*, Lower Minnesota (07020012)+*, Buffalo-Whitewater (07040003)+, La Crosse-Pine (07040006)+*, Black (07040007)+, Lower Chippewa (07050005)+, Coon-Yellow (07060001)+, Upper Iowa (07060002)+, Maquoketa (07060006)+, Castle Rock (07070003)+, Lower Wisconsin (07070005)+, Copperas-Duck (07080101)+, Lower Iowa (07080209)+, Upper Rock (07090001)+, Crawfish (07090002)+, Pecatonica (07090003)+*, Sugar (07090004)+, Des Moines Headwaters (07100001)+, North Raccoon (07100006)+*, The Sny (07110004)+, Salt (07110007)+, Peruque-Piasa (07110009)+, Kankakee (07120001)+, Iroquois (07120002)+, Chicago (07120003)+, Des Plaines (07120004)+, Upper Illinois (07120005)+*, Upper Fox (07120006)+, Lower Fox (07120007)+, Lower Illinois-Senachwine Lake (07130001)+*, Lower Illinois-Lake Chautauqua (07130003)+, Lower Illinois (07130011)+, Big Muddy (07140106)+*, Upper Kaskaskia (07140201)+, Middle Kaskaskia (07140202)+
08 Lower Mississippi-Memphis (08010100)+*, Obion (08010202)+, Lower Mississippi-Greenville (08030100)+, Bayou Bartholomew (08040205)+, Bayou Macon (08050002)+
10 Little White (10140203)+*, Upper Niobrara (10150003)+*, Middle Niobrara (10150004)+*, Lower Big Sioux (10170203)+*, Lower North Platte (10180014)+, Salt (10200203)+, Little Sioux (10230003)+, Boyer (10230007)+*, Tarkio-Wolf (10240005)+, Independence-Sugar (10240011)+, Lower Kansas (10270104)+, Upper Big Blue (10270201)+*, West Fork Big Blue (10270203)+*, Upper Little Blue (10270206)+*, Upper Chariton (10280201)+, Lower Marais Des Cygnes (10290102)+, Lower Missouri-Crooked (10300101)+
11 Upper White-Village (11010013)+*, Rattlesnake (11030009)+, Gar-Peace (11030010)+, Upper Cimarron-Bluff (11040008)+, Medicine Lodge (11060003)+, Lower Arkansas-Maumelle (11110207)+, Blue-China (11130102)+, West Cache (11130203)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: King rail, Rallidae.
Reproduction Comments: In central Ohio, 26 of 34 nests were found during the last half of May (Meanley 1969). Clutch size 6-15 (commonly 8-11) eggs. Incubation 21-24 days, by both sexes. Young tended by both parents, leave nest soon after hatching, first fly at about 9 weeks.
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: Inland northern populations make extensive seasonal migrations. Breeding populations in the south may be nonmigratory. Apparently moves along the Atlantic coast and Mississippi Valley when returning to nesting areas in the north (Meanley 1969). Arrives in the upper Midwest mostly in April-May; most have departed by October-November (Brewer et al. 1991).
Estuarine Habitat(s): Herbaceous wetland
Palustrine Habitat(s): HERBACEOUS WETLAND, SCRUB-SHRUB WETLAND
Habitat Comments: Freshwater marshes, upland-wetland marsh edges, ricefields or similar flooded farmlands, shrub swamps; locally in brackish and coastal salt marshes (AOU 1983, Sibley and Monroe 1990, Meanley 1969).

Nest is an elevated platform, often with a canopy and ramp, attached to plants growing in shallow water (0-25 cm) or placed in a tussock or other waterside vegetation (Harrison 1978, Meanley 1969).

Adult Food Habits: Granivore, Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Granivore, Invertivore
Food Comments: Eats crustaceans, insects and other invertebrates, small fishes, tadpoles, seeds of weeds and aquatic plants, grain; forages in shallow water and on mud flats (Bent 1926). Probes in mud or sand, or picks up food items from the substrate. Water depths at foraging sites typically are less than 10 cm (see Brewer et al. 1991).
Adult Phenology: Circadian
Immature Phenology: Circadian
Length: 38 centimeters
Weight: 415 grams
Economic Attributes
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Economic Comments: Hunted in most of the eastern and Gulf coastal states (Eddleman et al. 1988).
Management Summary
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Management Requirements: Eddleman et al. (1988) provided the following information on managing waterfowl areas in a way that is compatible with the conservation of inland rails. Wetlands of the greatest importance to rallids (other than gallinules and coots) are shallower and have greater percentage cover by emergent vegetation than those typically managed for waterfowl. Dewatering in northern breeding areas should occur before April 15 to avoid disruption of rail nest initiation. Gradual dewatering (and presumably presence of topographic diversity) provides the maximum amount of favorable foraging area (edge between moist soil and marsh). Amount of nesting cover (emergent perennial vegetation) should be maximized. To provide rail habitat every year, different impoundments should be flooded in different years.

For autumn migration, shallow flooding should commence in late summer in middle latitudes (vs. late autumn or winter for waterfowl), and habitat should include various shallow water depths, robust cover, and short-stemmed seed-producing plants. Flooding too deeply and too early, and deep winter flooding, lead to loss of robust plant cover.

In spring, areas that have annual grasses and smartweeds should be shallowly flooded (< 15 cm), with some areas flooded to depth of up to 50 cm. Drawdowns are most favorable when they concentrate invertebrate prey. These conditions also provide excellent habitat for dabbling ducks such as blue-winged teal and northern shoveler. Land leveling, which reduces topographic diversity and favorable rail foraging habitat (edge) should be avoided.

Biological Research Needs: Determine migratory routes. Investigate the occurrence and effects of toxic chemicals in the food web.
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 08Apr2014
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Jennings, R. Partially revised by G. Hammerson., Partially revised by Dean K. Jue
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 14Dec1994
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Alabama Breeding Bird Atlas 2000-2006 Homepage. 2009. T.M. Haggerty (editor), Alabama Ornithological Society. Available at http://www.una.edu/faculty/thaggerty/BBA%20website/Index.htm.

  • Alabama Ornithological Society. 2006. Field checklist of Alabama birds. Alabama Ornithological Society, Dauphin Island, Alabama. [Available online at http://www.aosbirds.org/documents/AOSChecklist_april2006.pdf ]

  • Allen, C. R., S. Demarais, and R. S. Lutz. 1994. Red imported fire ant impact on wildlife: an overview. The Texas Journal of Science 46(1):51-59.

  • American Ornithologists Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American Birds. 7th edition. American Ornithologists Union, Washington, D.C. 829 pages.

  • American Ornithologists' Union (AOU), Committee on Classification and Nomenclature. 1983. Check-list of North American Birds. Sixth Edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Allen Press, Inc., Lawrence, Kansas.

  • American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1983. Check-list of North American Birds, 6th edition. Allen Press, Inc., Lawrence, Kansas. 877 pp.

  • American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.

  • American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). Chesser, R.T., R.C. Banks, C. Cicero, J.L. Dunn, A.W. Kratter, I.J. Lovette, A.G. Navarro-Sigüenza, P.C. Rasmussen, J.V. Remsen, Jr., J.D. Rising, D.F. Stotz, and K.Winker. 2014. Fifty-Fifth Supplement to the American Ornithologists' Union Check-list of North American Birds. The Auk 131(4):1-15.

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