Data for:

Gruiformes > Rallidae

King Rail

Rallus elegans

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Large, bright rail of freshwater marshes with striking orange neck; very similar to Clapper Rail, which prefers saltwater. Female duller than male. Prefers freshwater marshes with extensive cattails; rarely found in brackish or saltwater. Listen for series of harsh "kek" notes or loud, rasping grunts erupting from marsh, slower and deeper than Clapper Rail. Most similar to Clapper Rails along Gulf Coast; best separated by more contrasting black-and-white barring on sides, distinct black centers on back and wing feathers, and oranger face. From Virginia Rail by larger size and lack of distinct gray cheek. Sometimes hybridizes with Clapper Rail where fresh and saltwater meet; some birds best left unidentified.



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Learn more about King Rail from…

All About Birds

Your Online Guide To Birds And Bird Watching

Birds of North America

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