Friday, September 16, 2016

Friday's Foto

A small, secretive marsh bird, the Virginia Rail is more often heard than seen. Their loud, grunting "kuk-kuk-kuk" vocalization carries a surprising distance through their preferred habitat of freshwater marshes with cattails, reeds, and deep grass. Probing mud and shallow water with its long bill, their diet is primarily small aquatic invertebrates, such as beetles, spiders, snails, and true bugs. In the winter they also eat aquatic plants and seeds.

With the exception of migration, they rarely fly, escaping danger instead by running through marsh vegetation. According to Cornell's 'All About Birds' website, "The Virginia Rail can swim under water, propelling itself with its wings. It swims in this way probably only to flee predators."

IUCN Red List lists their conservation status as “Least Concern”.

The Virginia Rail’s scientific name, Rallus limicola, means “bird” “mud-dweller”.

During migration, they frequently end up in decidedly less than ideal surroundings. Check out my postings about it here.

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