Clapper Rail

General description.

Hunters refer to the Clapper Rail as the "Salt-water Marsh Hen" due to its chicken-like appearance and the way it creeps under mats of dry marsh grass. This rail is a grayish bird, and depending upon location, either Gulf Coast or Far West, with rusty underparts.

Breeding habits.

This rail breeds along both coasts from Central California and Massachusetts southward.

Calls or song.

A harsh rattle, kek-kek-kek-kek-kek"

Population and distribution.

Due to the draining and poisoning of salt water marshes to 'mosquito proof' them, the Clapper Rail is an endangered "coastal bird". It is very secretive, but can sometimes be seen when high tides force it from the flooding marsh onto roads, floating boards, etc. This rail winters along the coasts north to Central California and New Jersey.

Nesting habits.

The Clapper Rail builds a nest dangerously close to the high tide mark in salt marshes in a tangle of grasses and reeds. Both parents incubate their 6-8 pale buff eggs for two weeks before the young can be led from the danger of waves and flooding.

Similar birds:

King Rail Photo King Rail
Virginia Rail Photo Virginia Rail
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