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Data for:
Monroe, Florida, United States
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Gruiformes > Rallidae

Black Rail

Laterallus jamaicensis

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Identification

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Tiny rail, the size of a sparrow and nearly impossible to see without tremendous effort. Slate gray overall with a piercing red eye, brown nape, and white spotting on wings. Beware confusion with downy young of other rail species, which are entirely black. Inhabits drier areas in fresh and saltwater marshes with cattail, sedge, and other tall grasses. Typically rare even in proper habitat. Incredibly difficult to locate even when vocalizing within mere feet of an observer; stealthily dashes around at the base of dense grass like a ninja. Easiest to detect by its distinctive song, most often heard at night: a churring "kick-ee-derr", two higher notes followed by a lower note.

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Learn more about Black Rail from…

All About Birds

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