King rail
Rallus elegans
 
ITIS Species Code:   176207         NatureServ Element Code:   ABNME05020
 
Taxa: 
Order: 
Family: 
Aves
Gruiformes
Rallidae
NatureServe Global Rank: 
NatureServe State (NC) Rank: 
 
G4G5
S3B,S3N
 
Federal Status: 
NC State Status: 
 
---
W1,W3
 
 
PARTNERS IN FLIGHT PRIORITY SCORES:
Southern Blue Ridge:  n/a Southern Piedmont:  n/a South Atl. Coastal Plain:  n/a
 
HEXAGONAL KNOWN RANGE:PREDICTED DISTRIBUTION:
 
SUMMARY OF STATEWIDE PREDICTED DISTRIBUTION:
 
Land Unit

US Fish & Wildlife Service
US Forest Service
US National Park Service
US Department of Defense
NC State Parks
NC University System
NC Wildlife Res. Com.
NC Forest Service
NC Div. of Coastal Mgmt.
Local Governments
Non-Governmental Org.
Other Public Lands
Private Lands

GAP Status 1-2
All Protected Lands
Statewide
 
Hectares

20,131.47
291.78
10,597.14
6,263.91
1,308.60
152.19
5,041.80
6.48
1,423.80
94.77
2,015.01
62.28
78,303.69

32,545.62
45,527.49
125,692.92
 
Acres

49,745.94
721.00
26,186.10
15,478.46
3,233.62
376.07
12,458.56
16.01
3,518.29
234.18
4,979.20
153.90
193,492.59

80,421.96
112,500.86
310,593.91
% of Dist. on
Prot. Lands

44.2 %
0.6 %
19.2 %
13.8 %
2.9 %
0.3 %
11.1 %
< 0.1 %
3.1 %
4.4 %
4.4 %
0.1 %
< 0.1 %

71.5 %
-----   
-----   
% of Dist. on
All Lands

16.0 %
0.2 %
8.4 %
5.0 %
1.0 %
0.1 %
4.0 %
< 0.1 %
1.1 %
< 0.1 %
1.6 %
< 0.1 %
62.3 %

25.9 %
-----   
-----   
 
HABITAT DESCRIPTION:
Has been said to be distributed across the entire state in the summer (Pearson 1959, Potter et al. 1980), but its presence away from the coast may be underreported, as it is in most of the species∆ range (Zimmerman 1977). Uncommon on the coastal plain (Fussell 1994) and fairly common on the barrier islands (Fussell and Lyons 1990).

Breeds in fresh or brackish tidal marshes, fresh nontidal marshes, and successional stages of shrubby marsh-swamps with emergent vegetation (Meanley 1992). Does not occur in salt marshes, where Clapper Rails occur, except occasionally during migration (Taylor 1998). Habitat requirements are very similar to that of the muskrat (Meanley 1992).

The nest is built in water up to 18 in deep (Reid et al. 1994), or on the ground 6-18 inches above the water, in a clump of vegetation, hidden by overhanging vegetation (Harrison 1975).

NATURE SERVE GLOBAL HABITAT COMMENTS:

Freshwater marshes, upland-wetland marsh edges, ricefields or similar flooded farmlands, shrub swamps; locally in brackish and coastal salt marshes (AOU 1983, Sibley and Monroe 1990, Meanley 1969).

Nest is an elevated platform, often with a canopy and ramp, attached to plants growing in shallow water (0-25 cm) or placed in a tussock or other waterside vegetation (Harrison 1978, Meanley 1969).

 
MODELING DESCRIPTION:
Occupied Landcover Map Units:
Code NameDescription NC Natural Heritage Program Equivalent
3 Tidal Marsh Fresh and brackish tidal marshes, including cord grass, wild rice, sawgrass and needlerush alliances. Brackish Marsh, Interdune pond, Maritime wet grassland
124 Maritime Scrubs and Tidal Shrublands Coastal shrubs including wax-myrtle, swamp rose, alder, yaupon, and greenbriar. Maritime Shrubs, Salt Shrub
372 Interdune Herbaceous Wetlands Dune swales with permanently flooded to intermittently exposed hydrology. Species composition depends on salinity and can include cut grass, spike-rush, mosquito fern, and hornwort. Interdune Pond, Maritime Wet Grasslands
380 Coastal Plain Fresh Water Emergent Emergent vegetation in fresh water seepage bogs, ponds and riverbeds of the coastal plain. Includes alliances dominated by sedges, eelgrass, as well as cane found in unforested cane-brakes. Small Depression Pond, Sandhill Seep, Floodplain Pool, Unforested Floodplain Canebrake, Riverscour Prairies, Vernal Pools
173 Coastal Plain Riverbank Shrubs Shrub dominated riverbanks, commonly dominated by willows and/or alders. Sand and Mud Bar
239 Piedmont/Mountain Emergent Vegetation Emergent vegetation of all wetland hydrologies. Sites would commonly support species such as tussock sedge, rushs, and cattail alliances. Rocky Bar and Shore (in part)
267 Riverbank Shrublands Riverside shrubs with temporarily flooded hydrologies. Found in the both the Mountains and Piedmont. Containing dominants such as smooth alder and a Carolina or black willows. Sand and Mud Bar
269 Floodplain Wet Shrublands Saturated shrublands of the Piedmont, includes buttonbush, swamp-loosestrife, decodon and alders. Piedmont/mountain Semipermanent Impoundment
View Entire Landcover Legend
 
Additional Spatial Constraints:
Exclude all area outside of known range.
Exclude all land greater than 200 meters from an open water feature.
Exclude all land greater than 200 meters from wet vegetation.
Exclude salt water habitats.
Exclude areas of intensive human activity including moderately to highly developed landscapes.
 
CITATIONS:
Eddleman, W. R., F. L. Knopf, B. Meanley, F. A. Reid, and R. Zembal. 1988. Conservation of North American rallids. Wilson Bulletin 100:458-475.

Bent, A. C. 1926. Life histories of North American marsh birds. U.S. National Museum Bulletin No. 135. [reprint. 1963. Dover Publications, Inc., New York, New York].

Ehrlich, P.R., D.S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1992. Birds in jeopardy:the imperiled and extinct birds of the United States and Canada, including Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California. 259 pp.

Evers, D. C. 1992. A guide to Michigan's endangered wildlife. Univ. Michigan Press, Ann Arbor. viii + 103 pp.

Meanley, B. 1992. King rail. In Poole A, Stettenheim P, Gill F, eds. The birds of North America. No. 3.

Fussell, J. III and M. Lyons. 1990. Birds of the Outer Banks [pamphlet]. Eastern National Parks and Monument Association Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society.

Fussell, J.O. III. 1994. A birderís guide to coastal North Carolina. Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press.

Pearson, T.G. 1959. Birds of North Carolina. Raleigh, NC: Bynum Printing Company.

Meanley, B. 1969. Natural history of the king rail. NorthAm. Fauna 67:1-108.

Harrison, H.H. 1975. A field guide to bird's nests in the U.S. east of the Mississippi River. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. 257 p.

Ripley, S.D. 1977. Rails of the world. M.F. Feheley Publishers, Ltd., Toronto. 406 pp.

Harrison, C. 1978. A field guide to the nests, eggs and nestlings of North American birds. Collins, Cleveland, Ohio.

Harrison, H.H. 1979. A field guide to western birds' nests. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 279 pp.

Potter, E. F., J. F. Parnell, and R. P. Teulings. 1980. Birds of the Carolinas. Univ. North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill. 408 pp.

Terres, J.K. 1980. The Audubon Society encyclopedia of North American birds. Alfred A. Knopf, New York.

American Ornithologists' Union (AOU), Committee on Classification and Nomenclature. 1983. Check-list of North American Birds. Sixth Edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Allen Press, Inc., Lawrence, Kansas.

Avise, J.C., and R.M. Zink. 1988. Molecular genetic divergence between avian sibling species:king and clapper rails, long-billed and short-billed dowitchers, boat-tailed and great-tailed grackles, and tufted and black-crested titmice. Auk 105:516-528.

Zimmerman, J.L. 1977. Virginia Rail (Rallus limicola). Pp 46-56 in Sanderson GC, ed. Management of migratory shore and upland game birds in North America. Washington, D.C.: International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

Sibley, C.G., and B.L. Monroe. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut. xxiv + 1111 pp.

Brewer, R., G.A. McPeek, and R.J. Adams, Jr. 1991. The Atlas of Breeding Birds of Michigan. Michigan State University Press, East Lansing, Michigan. xvii + 594 pp.

Reid, F.A., B. Meanley and L.H. Fredrickson. 1994. King Rail. In Tacha TC, Braun CE, eds. Management of migratory shore and upland game birds in North America. Washington, D.C.: International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

10 March 2005
 
This data was compiled and/or developed by the North Carolina GAP Analysis Project.

For more information please contact them at:
NC-GAP Analysis Project
Dept. of Zoology, NCSU
Campus Box 7617
Raleigh, NC 27695-7617
(919) 513-2853
www.basic.ncsu.edu/ncgap