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Black Rail - BirdForum Opus

Subspecies jamaicensis
Photo by Peter Bono
Elliott Island Marsh, Maryland, USA, June 1975
Laterallus jamaicensis

Includes: Junin Rail


Junin Rail
Photo by Stanley Jones
Lago Junín, Ondores, Junín, Peru, August 2017

12–15 cm (4¾-6 in)

  • Black head and breast
  • Rusty nape
  • Dark back and wing coverts with small white spots
  • Dark flanks barred black and white
  • Short dark bill

Sexes similar


Poorly known, perhaps more numerous than they seem. Currently thought to be very local from U.S. to central Argentina and Chile.



There are 5 subspecies[1]:
Ranges are disjunct.

tuerosi is sometimes accepted as full species, Junin Rail.


Coastal salt marshes and some freshwater marshes.



The diet consists of tiny aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates, including snails, spiders, ants and aphids; also seeds of some marsh plants.


Monogamous. Nests are hidden in clumps of vegetation on marshes and grassland, slightly elevated from the ground. Both sexes appear to incubate the eggs.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved Nov 2017)
  3. Wikipedia

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.