King Rail


(Rallus elegans)

Along the Texas Gulf Coast, where this bird was photographed, the female King Rail is similar to the male Clapper Rail. This individual was identified as a King Rail not by one factor alone, but by the combination of voice, location in a fresh water marsh (Clapper prefers saltwater marsh), lack of gray on the neck, extent of white on the throat, defined streaking on the back, and crisply contrasting white streaks on the belly (Clapper has less well-defined contrast). The mixed gray and brown on the face may suggest the possibility of some hybridization with Clapper Rail in this individual’s ancestry.

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