IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)

Brief Summary

Read full entry

Coturnicops noveboracensis

A small (7 inches) chicken-like bird, the Yellow Rail is most easily identified by its small size, mottled-brown body, and short tail. Other field marks include a thin bill, yellow legs, and brown eyes. Male and female Yellow Rails are similar to one another in all seasons. The Yellow Rail breeds extremely locally over a wide area of south-central Canada and the northern United States. These birds migrate south for the winter, when they may be found along the coast of the southeastern United States from North Carolina to Texas. An isolated population may exist in central Mexico, but has not been sighted there since 1964. Yellow Rails breed in shallow freshwater marshes, particularly those where sedges are common. In winter, this species is found in coastal freshwater and saltwater marshes where Spartina marsh grasses grow. Yellow Rails mainly eat aquatic snails and insects, and may also take seeds when available. Like most rails, the Yellow Rail is extremely secretive and difficult to observe. This species tends to hide in clumps of tall marsh grasses when startled, more rarely flying short distances close to the top of the vegetation. This species is active both during the day and at night.


translation missing: en.license_cc_by_nc_sa_4_0

© Smithsonian Institution

Supplier: Robert Costello


EOL content is automatically assembled from many different content providers. As a result, from time to time you may find pages on EOL that are confusing.

To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!