Data for:
Lake Ashby Park
List:

Gruiformes > Rallidae

King Rail

Rallus elegans

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Identification

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Large, bright rail of freshwater marshes. Generally uncommon to rare across range. Note rich orange neck and face, contrasty black-and-white barring on sides, and rich brownish upperparts with distinct dark streaks. Females are duller than males. Very similar to Clapper Rail, especially on the Gulf Coast. Habitat is a good first clue: King prefers freshwater marshes with extensive cattails or other reeds; rarely found in brackish or saltwater marshes like Clapper. King is also brighter overall with more contrasting pattern on the sides and upperparts. Beware that King and Clapper can hybridize where fresh and saltwater meet; some birds are best left unidentified. Listen for series of harsh "kek" notes or loud, rasping grunts erupting from marsh, slower and deeper than Clapper Rail.

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King Rail

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