Laterallus jamaicensis

Black Rail

FWS Focus


Adult Black Rails are small blackish marshbirds with a black bill which are difficult to see. Juveniles are similar to adults, but are duller and have less distinct spotting and streaking.

References cited in Species Profile

  • Cornell Lab of Ornithology. 2015. Black Rail. All About Birds.
  • Davidson, L. M. 1992. Black Rail, Laterallus jamaicensis. Pages 119-134 in Migratory nongame birds of management concern in the Northeast. (Schneider, K. J. and D. M. Pence, Eds.) U.S. Fish and Wildl. Serv. Newton Corner, MA.
  • Eddleman, W. R., R. E. Flores and M. Legare. 1994. Black Rail (Laterallus jamaicensis), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online:
  • Eddleman, W. R., F. L. Knopf, B. Meanley, F. A. Reid, and R. Zembal. 1988. Conservation of North American rallids. Wilson Bull. 100:458-475.
  • Evens, J. G., G. W. Page, S. A. Laymon, and R. W. Stallcup. 1991. Distribution, relative abundance, and status of the California Black Rail in western North America. Condor 93:952-966.
  • Hands, H. M., R. D. Drobney, and M. R. Ryan. 1989. Status of the Black Rail in the northcentral United States. U.S. Fish and Wildl. Serv. Twin Cities, MN.
  • Kerlinger, P. and D. S. Wiedner. 1990. Vocal behavior and habitat use of Black Rails in south Jersey. Records of New Jersey Birds 16:58-62.
  • Kerlinger, P. and C. Sutton. 1989. Black Rail in New Jersey. Records of New Jersey Birds 15:22-26.
  • Mcmullen, T. E. 1944. The Black Rail. Cassinia 34:20-21.
  • Richmond, O.M., J. Tecklin, and S.R. Beissinger. 2008. Distribution of California Black Rails in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Journal of Ornithology 79:381-390.
  • Todd, R. L. 1977. Black Rail, Little Black Rail, Black Crake, Farallon Rail (Laterallus jamaicensis). Pages 71-83 in Management of migratory shore and upland game birds in North America. (Sanderson, G. C., Ed.) Intl. Assoc. Fish and Wildl. Agen. Washington, D.C.
  • Weske, J. S. 1969. An ecological study of the Black Rail in Dorchester County, Maryland.Master's Thesis. Cornell Univ. Ithaca, NY.

Scientific Name

Laterallus jamaicensis
Common Name
Black Rail
FWS Category

Location in Taxonomic Tree

Identification Numbers



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