Clapper rail Rallus longirostris

Identification Tips:

Atlantic Coast adult (R.l.crepitans):

Gulf Coast (R.l.scottii) and West Coast adults (R.l.levipes and R.l.yumanensis):

Similar species:

Downy young Clapper Rails can be mistaken for Black Rails but are distinguished by their dark (not red) eyes, the lack of spotting on the back and the lack of barring on the flanks. The smaller Virginia Rail has a red bill and much more contrast between the gray cheeks and the cinnamon underparts. The King Rail is very similar, but is more common in freshwater marshes. Adult King Rails are easily separated from Atlantic Coast Clapper Rails by their reddish brown head, neck and underparts and more sharply-defined barring on flanks. The rich reddish brown wing coverts and tawnier back separate King Rails from all races of Clapper Rail. Hybridization is known with the King Rail.

Length and wingspan from: Robbins, C.S., Bruun, B., Zim, H.S., (1966). Birds of North America. New York: Western Publishing Company, Inc.