The King Rail (Rallus elegans Audubon), largest of North American rails, is indeed an elegant bird, as its Latin name implies. Its striking appearance (fig. I), secretive nature, and association with a variety of wetland habitats make it a favorite of bird students and rail hunters. The King Rail is found in most of the eastern half of North America, from the Atlantic coast to the Great Plains and from the Gulf of Mexico to southern Canada. It is most abundant in the fresh and brackish tidal marshes of the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain, the domestic ricefields of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas, and the marshes of southern Florida. It is fairly common in parts of the Midwest Prairie and Great Lakes region.
I began my studies of this interesting bird in 1950 in the Arkansas ricefields, and have continued them until 1967, both in the field and in the laboratory.
|Title||Natural history of the King Rail|
|Publication Subtype||Federal Government Series|
|Series Title||North American Fauna|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Patuxent Wildlife Research Center|