The black rail (Laterallus jamaicensis ) is a mouse-sized member of the bird family Rallidae.
Oviparous animals are female animals that lay their eggs, with little or no other embryonic development within the mother. This is the reproductive...
Precocial species are those in which the young are relatively mature and mobile from the moment of birth or hatching. Precocial species are normall...
A territory is a sociographical area that which an animal consistently defends against the conspecific competition (or, occasionally, against anima...
Animal migration is the relatively long-distance movement of individual animals, usually on a seasonal basis. It is the most common form of migrati...
The black rail is a small black bird with a short bill. Black rails usually weigh 29-39 g, are 10-15 cm in length, and have a wingspan of 8.7-11.0 in (22-28 cm).The body is dark, with white speckles along the back and wings. Both the beak and legs are dark. Adults have a red eye that appears around 3 months of age.Show More
It will often make its presence known with its distinctive ki-ki-krr call or an aggressive, presumably territorial, growl. This is primarily uttered during the night, when these birds are most vocal. The peak of vocalization is during the first two weeks of May, when breeding and courtship behaviors are also at their peak.Show Less
It is found in scattered parts of North America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific region of South America, usually in coastal salt marshes but also in some freshwater marshes. It is extinct or threatened in many locations due to habitat loss. The largest populations in North America are in Florida and California.
The black rail is an opportunistic feeder and consumes a wide range of food. Its diet includes seeds, insects, crustaceans and mollusks. The black rail forages by feeding along the water lines after high and low tide.
This rail is territorial during the breeding season, and occasionally males will mate with two or more females. The nests of this bird are placed on the ground, in dense, swampy vegetation or in patches of flooded grass. The nests are bowl-shaped and built with vegetation loosely woven.Show More
The clutch of this bird usually consists of six to eight creamy white speckled, with reddish-brown spots, eggs. These eggs are roundish and measure around 23 by 17 millimetres (0.91 by 0.67 in). They are incubated by both parents, taking shifts of approximately one hour each, for 16 to 20 days. The precocial young then hatch.
In 2015, the first ever breeding by black rails in South Carolina was captured through a camera study. This species was once thought to be a non-breeding visitor to the state.Show Less
Under the IUCN Red List, the black rail is listed as endangered with decreasing populations. The IUCN estimates there are between 28,000 and 92,000 mature individuals remaining. The largest threats to the Black Rail are habitat destruction and severe weather events.Show More
The wetland habitat that the black rail depends on has steadily declined through the last several decades, due to draining for development and conversion to agricultural land.
In addition to declining populations and increasing threats, the black rail is also impacted by the lack of scientific studies available. Because of the secretive and hard to observe nature of the bird, there is very little known about them to help prevent population decline.
They are preyed upon by many avian (hawks, egrets, and herons) and mammalian (foxes and cats) predators, and rely on the cover of thick marsh vegetation for protection. High tides are a dangerous time for black rails, as they are quite vulnerable to predation outside the marsh.Show Less