Rallidae

Gallinula galeataThe Common Gallinule (Gallinula galeata), formerly known as the Common Moorhen, now “split” or separated from that Eurasian species (C. chloropus). Unlike the somewhat similar American Coot (Fulica americana), this bird doesn’t have lobbed toes. Porzana carolinaLook at the long toes on this Sora Rail (Porzana carolina). All the better for walking through oozy marshes.Porzana carolinaWe saw several Sora in a couple of different marshes. They are the least-elusive of the marsh rails: a few years ago, one was even in Prospect Park, showing itself regularly. (Clapper Rails, meanwhile, are relatively common in our parts, or at least their edges like Marine Park, but more likely to be heard than seen. But one was seen in Prospect Park yesterday.)Rallus limicolaVirginia Rail (Rallus limicola), most readily distinguished from the Sora by its longer red bill, which you can even see in this near-silhouette. Not unknown in Prospect, but I’ve never seen one anywhere until this one at Estero Llano Grande.

“Thin as a rail.” I’ve yet to see the holy grails of our rails: the King, the Yellow, and the tiny Black.

2 Responses to “Rallidae”


  1. 1 elwnyc May 4, 2014 at 7:34 am

    My brother and sister-in-law, non-birders, have seen 2 Virginia rails in Brooklyn, one behind the trash cans in their cemented front yard on 4th St., and one behind the trash cans at P.S. 321 on 7th Avenue. I’ve never seen one. Maybe I’m looking in the wrong places.

    • 2 mthew May 4, 2014 at 5:50 pm

      There’s a trash can theme here! A couple of VRs have been seen out in the open in Prospect over the years, evidently dazed and confused, perhaps from hitting something. I’ve only seen the pictures of those.


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