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Merlin Bird ID

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    Black Rail Life History


    Habitat MarshesNests in high portions of salt marshes, shallow freshwater marshes, wet meadows, and flooded grassy vegetation.Back to top


    Food Aquatic invertebratesSmall invertebrates and seeds.Back to top


    Nest Placement

    Nest Ground

    Nesting Facts
    Egg Description:Creamy white with fine brown spots.
    Condition at Hatching:Covered with black down, leave nest within one day. Fed by parents.
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    Behavior ProbingBack to top


    Conservation Red Watch ListIt is difficult to estimate populations of Black Rail, but some populations appear to be declining. This species is on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List, which lists bird species that are at risk of becoming threatened or endangered without conservation action. The North American Waterbird Conservation Plan rates them a 16.5 out of 20 in the Continental Concern Score, and lists them as a Species of Highest Concern. Black Rail are considered Endangered in Arizona and Threatened in California.Back to top


    Eddleman, William R., R. E. Flores and M. Legare. 1994. Black Rail (Laterallus jamaicensis), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

    Kushlan, J. A., M. J. Steinkamp, K. C. Parsons, J. Capp, M. A. Cruz, M. Coulter, I. Davidson, L. Dickson, N. Edelson, R. Elliott, R. M. Erwin, S. Hatch, S. Kress, R. Milko, S. Miller, K. Mills, R. Paul, R. Phillips, J. E. Saliva, W. Sydeman, J. Trapp, J. Wheeler and K. Wohl. 2002. Waterbird conservation for the Americas: The North American waterbird conservation plan, version 1. Washington, D.C.: Waterbird Conservation for the Americas.

    North American Bird Conservation Initiative. 2014. The State of the Birds 2014 Report. US Department of Interior, Washington, DC, USA.

    Sibley, David Allen. 2014. The Sibley guide to birds, second edition. Alfred A Knopf, New York.

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