Black Rail


(Laterallus jamaicensis)

The tiny Black Rail is one of the most difficult of all North American birds to see. It hides in dense grass where it scurries like a mouse along the ground, and is reclusive to the point of almost never appearing in the open.  Its signature call can be heard at night, and more reports of the bird are by sound rather than by sight. The individual here is actually a Galápagos Rail, Laterallus spilonotus, photographed in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island in the Galápagos. It is included here for instructional purposes, as it is virtually  indistinguishable from the North American species.

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