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Spotted Rail - BirdForum Opus

Subspecies maculatus
Photo by Stanley Jones
Jaén sewage ponds, Cajamarca, Peru, January 2017
Pardirallus maculatus


25–28cm (9¾-11 in)
Medium size rail with red legs and iris, yellowish bill with red spot at the base. The body seems to be mostly black with white markings that on the upperside and upper breast are spots, while the rest of the underside is barred.


Juvenile, Subspecies maculatus
Photo by Stanley Jones
Jaén sewage ponds, Cajamarca, Peru, January 2017

Locally from Mexico to northern Argentina, Brazil and Greater Antilles (though rare and local in Jamaica1).

Accidental vagrant to the United States with records in Texas and Pennsylvania.



There are 2 subspecies2:


Freshwater swamps and rice fields.

Critically endangered in the West Indies due to habitat destruction.


Very difficult to see, more often heard. Mostly seems solitary.


Their diet consists of earthworms, insects and their larva, invertebrates, fish and plant material such as pondweed.


Click on photo for larger image


  1. Raffaele, H, J Wiley, OH Garrido, A Keith, JI Raffaele. 2003. Birds of the West Indies. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0691113197
  2. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

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