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Yellow Rail

Coturnicops noveboracensis ORDER: GRUIFORMES FAMILY: RALLIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Because of its secretive nature, the Yellow Rail is infrequently encountered. The second-smallest rail in North America, it breeds in sedge marshes and winters in marshes and hay fields.

At a GlanceHelp

Both Sexes
5.1–7.1 in
13–18 cm
11–12.6 in
28–32 cm
1.4–2.4 oz
41–68 g
Other Names
  • Râle jaune (French)
  • Gallineta amarilla (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The distinctive clicking calls of the Yellow Rail are given almost exclusively during the dark of the night.



Shallow marshes, and wet meadows; in winter, drier fresh-water and brackish marshes, as well as dense, deep grass, and rice fields.




Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
4–10 eggs
Condition at Hatching
Covered with black down, leave nest within one day. Fed by parents.
Nest Placement





status via IUCN

Least Concern

Yellow Rail 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 Waterbird Conservation for the Americas rates Yellow Rail a 16 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score and lists it as a Species of High Concern. Because of secretive nature, there is no information available on population trends, but it is listed as "threatened" or "endangered" in some states and as "vulnerable" in Quebec.


Range Map Help

Yellow Rail Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings


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bird image Blue-winged Warbler by Brian Sullivan

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