Picture of Planet Scott, planetscott.com
The Wild Wild World of
Travel and nature photos

Virginia Rail (Rallus limicola)

Virginia Rail (Rallus limicola)

Virginia Rail (Rallus limicola)

Class: Aves
Family: Rallidae
Common Name: Virginia Rail
Genus: Rallus
Species Name: limicola

About The Virginia Rail

A small (9 inches) rail, the Virginia Rail is most easily identified by its mottled brown back, rusty neck, streaked flanks, and dark gray face patch near the eye. This species may be separated from the similarly-colored King Rail (Rallus limnicola) by that species’ much larger size and browner face. Male and female Virginia Rails are similar to one another in all seasons. The Virginia Rail breeds across southern Canada and in northern and western portions of the United States. Northerly-breeding populations migrate south to the coastal southeast and Mexico in winter, whereas populations breeding in the Mid-Atlantic region, on the Pacific coast, and in the interior southwest are non-migratory. Other non-migratory populations exist in central Mexico and Guatemala. Virginia Rails breed in a variety of marshland habitats in areas of fresh or brackish water. This species utilizes similar habitat types in winter as in summer. Virginia Rails primarily eat small invertebrates, such as insects and crustaceans, but may also eat seeds and aquatic plant material during the winter. In appropriate habitat, Virginia Rails may be seen wading in shallow water while foraging for food on the shore or on the mud of the submerged bank. If these birds are more hidden, perhaps beneath tall marsh grasses, it may still be possible to hear their call, a grating “wak-wak-wak” repeated many times in succession. Virginia Rails are primarily active during the day, although they may be heard calling at night.

Rights Holder: Unknown
Bibliographic Citation: Rumelt, Reid B. Rallus limicola. June-July 2012. Brief natural history summary of Rallus limicola. Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.

Member Lifelists

New Jersey
North America
San Francisco
United States

Sites Where Observed


Sitemap Hackers Challenge Contact
Website Powered By PlanetScott.com