- ORDER: Gruiformes
- FAMILY: Rallidae
Ridgway's Rail is a handsome gray-and-rusty bird that lives most of its life concealed in dense vegetation. It uses its formidable bill to probe into muddy wetlands for invertebrate prey. It lives in saltwater marshes, freshwater marshes, and mangrove swamps in California, Arizona, Nevada, and coastal western Mexico. Populations are declining largely due to wetland loss and degradation, and the species is listed in the U.S. as federally endangered. This species and Clapper Rail were considered the same species (along with Mangrove Rail) until 2014.More ID Info
Find This Bird
Rails are famously secretive, so look and listen for them when they're most active: at dawn and dusk. Move around gently and focus on areas with good sight lines, such as creek channels or where open mudflats meet patches of vegetation. Coastal Ridgway’s Rails often bathe in shallow pools at low tide. These rails are very vocal, with common vocalizations including males’ advertising call of repeated “kek” notes, pairs’ gruntlike “clapper” duets, and females’ “kek-burr” calls.
- Rascón de Ridgway (Spanish)
- Râle de Californie (French)
- Cool Facts
- Ridgway's Rails have special salt glands that enable them to drink seawater.
- Young leave the nest soon after hatching, but their parents brood them 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.