Virginia rail
Rallus limicola
 
ITIS Species Code:   176221         NatureServ Element Code:   ABNME05030
 
Taxa: 
Order: 
Family: 
Aves
Gruiformes
Rallidae
NatureServe Global Rank: 
NatureServe State (NC) Rank: 
 
G5
S3B,S5N
 
Federal Status: 
NC State Status: 
 
---
---
 
 
PARTNERS IN FLIGHT PRIORITY SCORES:
Southern Blue Ridge:  n/a Southern Piedmont:  15 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

19,015.83
209.16
8,894.25
6,263.91
1,155.87
123.03
4,309.56
0.00
1,423.62
1.98
1,943.46
34.83
55,022.22

30,804.21
42,833.34
98,397.72
 
Acres

46,989.13
516.85
21,978.17
15,478.46
2,856.22
304.01
10,649.15
0.00
3,517.84
4.89
4,802.39
86.07
135,962.84

76,118.85
105,843.47
243,146.01
% of Dist. on
Prot. Lands

44.4 %
0.5 %
19.5 %
14.6 %
2.7 %
0.3 %
10.1 %
0.0 %
3.3 %
4.5 %
4.5 %
< 0.1 %
0.0 %

71.9 %
-----   
-----   
% of Dist. on
All Lands

19.3 %
0.2 %
9.0 %
6.4 %
1.2 %
0.1 %
4.4 %
0.0 %
1.4 %
< 0.1 %
2.0 %
< 0.1 %
55.9 %

31.3 %
-----   
-----   
 
HABITAT DESCRIPTION:
Found along the coast in Dare County and north of the North River in Carteret County, rarer further south (Fussell 1994). Along the Savannah River (Potter et al. 1980) and in the mountain region (Simpson 1992). Possibly elsewhere.

Requires shallow water, emergent vegetation, and damp to muddy soil, such as occurs in freshwater, brackish, and salt marshes, swampy grasslands, wet fields, and irrigated hayfields (Taylor 1998). Avoids dry areas or wetlands lacking muddy ground and/or shallow pools of water (Conway 1995). Size of area with emergent vegetation more important than size of entire area; prefers littoral sites, and sites with high pH and conductivity (Conway 1995).

Nests in an area with dense vegetation. Nest can be at water level, or slightly above or below it (Conway 1995) usually in a clump of vegetation (Nicholson 1997).

NATURE SERVE GLOBAL HABITAT COMMENTS:

Freshwater and occasionally brackish marshes, mostly in cattails, reeds, and deep grasses (AOU 1983), also in or close to other emergent vegetation. Inhabits shallow, freshwater, emergent wetlands of every size and type, from roadside ditches and borders of lakes and streams to large cattail marshes (Brewer et al. 1991). Capable of using very small marshes (e.g., 5 nests have been found in a half-acre marsh) (see Brewer et al. 1991). Interspersion of open water and vegetation is an important habitat component (Brewer et al. 1991). Also occurs in salt marshes during the nonbreeding season (Cogswell 1977).

Nests in dense marsh vegetation over water, or in rank vegetation next to water; nest usually is less than 30 cm above water level. Often nests in vegetation next to open water.

 
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
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:
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].

Simpson MB Jr. 1992. Birds of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press.

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

Nicholson CP. 1997. Atlas of the breeding birds of Tennessee. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press.

Conway, C. J., W. R. Eddleman, and S. H. Anderson. 1994. Nesting success and survival of Virginia rails and soras. Wilson Bull. 106:466-473.

Cogswell, H.L. 1977. Water birds of California. Univ. California Press, Berkeley. 399 pp.

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.

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.

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