Living Bird Magazine
Clapper RailRallus crepitans
- ORDER: Gruiformes
- FAMILY: Rallidae
The large Clapper Rail is abundant in saltwater marshes and mangrove swamps from the U.S. East Coast to Central America and the Caribbean. This secretive bird lives most of its life concealed in dense vegetation. In 2014, the species was split into three: Clapper Rail; Ridgway's Rail of California, Arizona, and Nevada; and Mangrove Rail of South America.More ID Info
- Rascón Crepitante (Spanish)
- Râle tapageur (French)
- Cool Facts
- Clapper Rails have special salt glands that enable them to drink sea water.
- Eggs submerged in up to 18 inches of water during high tide are still capable of hatching.
- After leaving the nest, young are continually brooded by parents until they are about a week old. The parents may use the original nest, construct a temporary brood nest, or use floating debris.
- Chicks less than two weeks old are carried on the adults’ backs during periods of high water or when the birds move across open water.
- When chicks are about a week old, the parents divide the brood and each look after half the offspring.
- The oldest recorded Clapper Rail was a male, and at least 7 years, 6 months old when he was shot in New Jersey in 1977. He had been banded in the same state in 1971.