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Clapper Rail Identification

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The Four Keys to ID

  • Size & Shape

    Clapper Rails are chickenlike marsh birds with stout bills and stubby tails. They are noticeably larger than similarly shaped Virginia Rails. Clapper Rails look thin when viewed head-on, as if they have been squeezed together from the sides. This “lateral compression” helps them navigate smoothly through the dense vegetation they inhabit.

    Relative Size

    Larger than a Virginia Rail, smaller than an American Coot.

    Relative Sizebetween robin and crowbetween robin and crow

    • Both Sexes
      • Length: 12.6-16.1 in (32-41 cm)
      • Weight: 9.2-14.1 oz (260-400 g)