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Overview

Distribution

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: Resident locally along coast from central California south to Baja California and Nayarit, from Connecticut south to Belize; also in lower Colorado River valley and southern Salton Sea (migrates to Mexico for northern winter), and in South America.

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Caribbean; North America; from northern Cape Cod to the Gulf of Mexico; very rare north of Cape Cod
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Physical Description

Size

Length: 37 cm

Weight: 323 grams

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Diagnostic Description

Differs from the king rail in being slightly smaller and usually duller (less rusty) (but juvenile king rail also is rather dull). Averages 13 cm longer than Virginia rail and has a much less rusty breast.

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Ecology

Habitat

Comments: Salt and brackish marshes and mangrove swamps, locally (mostly in lower Colorado River Valley) in freshwater marshes where associated with dense vegetation and/or abundant crayfish (AOU 1983).

Nests on the ground in growing or dead herbage or under a small bush, or in places raised above the ground in a grass tuft or clump of rushes (Harrison 1978), among mangrove roots. Nests on the highest, driest place in the marsh (Terres 1980).

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Habitat and Ecology

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
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Migration

Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.

Locally Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

Northern populations tend to be partially migratory; some individuals may make interstate migrations. Populations in the southeastern U.S. may make intrastate migrations. Some individuals migrate overland (Crawford et al. 1983). Subspecies YUMANENSIS of lower Colorado River: some individuals may move southward into Mexico for winter, but generally resident (California DF&G 1990).

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Trophic Strategy

Comments: Eats crabs, crayfishes, mollusks, worms, and other invertebrates, sometimes small fishes, aquatic insects and parts of plants; forages mostly at low tide along banks of creeks in marsh and sometimes on mudflats (Terres 1980). See Zembal and Fancher (1988) for information on subspecies LEVIPES in California.

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Associations

Known predators

Rallus longirostris (Benthos-eating birds) is prey of:
Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Circus cyaneus

Based on studies in:
USA: Florida (Estuarine)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • Christian RR, Luczkovich JJ (1999) Organizing and understanding a winter’s seagrass foodweb network through effective trophic levels. Ecol Model 117:99–124
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Known prey organisms

  • Christian RR, Luczkovich JJ (1999) Organizing and understanding a winter’s seagrass foodweb network through effective trophic levels. Ecol Model 117:99–124
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General Ecology

In Louisiana, home range 0.4-0.81 hectares, dimensions changed seasonally (see Zembal et al. 1989). In Arizona, home ranges varied from an average of 2.2 hectares (incubating females) to 21.0 hectares (August-October females), and from 3.6 hectares (incubating males) to 24.0 hectares (winter males; Eddleman 1989). In California, home ranges varied from 0.4 to 1.7 hectares (Zembal et al. 1989).

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Life History and Behavior

Life Expectancy

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 7.5 years (wild) Observations: Banded male was shot dead when it was at least 7.5 years of age (http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/).
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Reproduction

Eggs laid mostly March-July in California, April-July in Virginia, May-June in New York and New Jersey. Possibly 2 broods per year. Clutch size usually 9-12. Incubation 18-23 days, by both sexes. Young tended by both parents, independent at 5-6 weeks. See Manser 1990 for information on breeding biology in Jamaica.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Rallus longirostris

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 3 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.  Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.  See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

NNTCATACTAATTTTTGGGGCCTGAGCCGGAATAATTGGCACCGCCCTAAGCCTGCTTATTCGAGCAGAACTCGGACAGCCCGGAACCCTCCTAGGAGATGACCAAATTTATAATGTAATCGTCACTGCCCATGCCTTCGTAATGATCTTCTTTATAGTAATACCGATCATAATTGGAGGATTCGGTAATTGACTAGTCCCCCTCATAATCGGAGCCCCAGATATGGCCTTTCCACGCATAAACAACATAAGCTTCTGACTCCTCCCTCCTTCCTTCCTACTCCTCCTAGCATCCTCCACAGTCGAAGCAGGGGCAGGAACAGGATGAACAGTATACCCCCCACTAGCTGGCAACCTAGCCCACGCAGGAGCTTCAGTAGACCTAGCCATTTTCTCACTCCACCTGGCAGGTGTATCATCTATCCTGGGCGCAATCAACTTCATCACGACCGCCATTAACATGAAACCCCCAGCCCTCTCCCAATATCAAACCCCCCTATTCGTATGATCTGTCCTCATCACCGCCGTCCTCCTATTACTATCCCTTCCCGTCCTAGCCGCAGGCATTACAATACTTCTAACCGACCGAAACCTAAACACCACATTCTTCGACCCTGCTGGAGGGGGAGATCCTATCCTATATCAACACCTTNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN
-- end --

Download FASTA File
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Rallus longirostris

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 3
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5B,N5N : N5B: Secure - Breeding, N5N: Secure - Nonbreeding

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be small, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
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Population

Population
The population is estimated to number 3,500-3,700 individuals, roughly equating to 2,300-2,500 mature individuals.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Management

Biological Research Needs: Investigate the occurrence and effects of toxic chemicals in the food web.

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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); protect light-footed, California, and Yuma clapper rails from disturbance and habitat loss, and expand habitat for these rails; integrate the management of national wildlife refuges so as to provide habitat not only for waterfowl but also for rails and other waterbirds.

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Uses

Comments: Hunted in most of the eastern and Gulf coastal states (Eddleman et al. 1988).

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Wikipedia

Clapper Rail

The Clapper Rail (Rallus longirostris) is a member of the rail family, Rallidae. Some researchers believe that this bird and the similar King Rail are a single species; the two birds are known to interbreed.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The Clapper rail and its subspecies are found along the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean]] coasts and several inland locales of the Americas.

Atlantic[edit]

The clapper rail is found along the Atlantic coasts; of the U.S. East Coast, Gulf of Mexico, Eastern Mexico, and some Caribbean islands, and south through eastern Central America to Northern South America and Northeastern Brazil.

Populations are stable on the East Coast of the U.S. — although the numbers of this bird have declined due to habitat loss.

Pacific[edit]

The clapper rail is found along the Pacific Coasts; from central California and western Arizona, south through Western Mexico and western Central America, to coastal Ecuador and northern Peru.

Despite this wide range, numbers of the Clapper Rail are now very low on the West Coast of the United States, because of significant destruction of coastal marshland and estuary habitats from urbanization.

Subspecies[edit]

Currently named subspecies of the Clapper Rail (Rallus longirostris) include: [2] [3]

Selected subspecies[edit]


Gulf Coast Clapper Rail—Rallus longirostris saturatus
Clapper Rail in Lakeland, Florida.

Description[edit]

The Clapper Rail is a chicken-sized bird that rarely flies. It is grayish brown with a pale chestnut breast and a noticeable white patch under the tail. Its bill curves slightly downwards. The Trinidadian subspecies R. l. pelodromus is more heavily marked with black above.

Behaviour[edit]

Feeding[edit]

These birds eat crustaceans, aquatic insects, and small fish. They search for food while walking, sometimes probing with their long bills, in shallow water or mud.

Breeding[edit]

The twig nest is placed low in mangrove roots, and 3-7 purple-spotted buff eggs are laid.

References[edit]

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Sometimes considered conspecific with R. elegans (AOU 1998). Populations along Pacific coast of North America and in Colorado River Valley region variously have been treated as R. longirostris, R. elegans, or R. obsoletus. (AOU 1983). See Avise and Zink (1988) for information on genetic divergence between elegans and longirostris.

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