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Virginia Rail

Virginia Rail
Photo Information
Copyright: Jean Yves Bissonnette (JYB) Silver Note Writer [C: 2 W: 0 N: 84] (916)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2010-05-19
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 50D, Canon 100-400L 4.5-5.6 IS USM, RAW @ ISO 400
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/500 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2010-05-19 21:28
Viewed: 2765
Points: 8
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
A secretive bird of freshwater marshes, the Virginia Rail most often remains hidden in dense vegetation. It possesses many adaptations for moving through its habitat, including a laterally compressed body, long toes, and flexible vertebrae.

Habitat : Marsh
Food : Insects
Nesting : Ground

Measurements for both Sexes

7.9–10.6 in
20–27 cm
12.6–15 in
32–38 cm
2.3–3.4 oz
65–95 g

Other Names

* Râle de Virginie (French)
* Rascón de agua (Spanish)

Cool Facts

* The forehead feathers of the Virginia Rail are adapted to withstand wear from pushing through dense marsh vegetation.
* The Virginia Rail can swim under water, propelling itself with its wings. It swims in this way probably only to flee predators.
* The Virginia Rail and other rail species have the highest ratio of leg muscles to flight muscles of any birds.
* The Virginia Rail builds numerous "dummy nests" in addition to the one where eggs are actually laid.

Habitat : Marsh

Freshwater marshes; occasionally inhabits salt marshes. Lives in dense emergent vegetation.

Food : Insects

Insects, insect larvae, other aquatic invertebrates, fish, frogs, and small snakes.

Nesting Facts

Clutch Size
4–13 eggs
Egg Description
White or buff with sparse irregular gray or brown spotting.
Condition at Hatching
Covered with black down, leave nest within one day. Fed by parents.

Nest Description

Basket of loosely woven vegetation, often with a canopy, usually placed above shallow water.

Nest Placement : Ground

status via IUCN

Least Concern

Declining in some areas, but not protected by special designations or measures. Information on population trends is sparse.


Conway, C. J. 1995. Virginia Rail (Rallus limicola). In The Birds of North America, No. 173 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, and The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.

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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Jean Yves

Excellent shot of this secretive rail, they are always very hard to get. Good sharpness and composition.


a very nice presentation of this bird in its environment.


  • Great 
  • deud Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 438 W: 11 N: 534] (2540)
  • [2010-05-20 18:14]

une très belle photo!
les couleurs sont naturelles!

une ambiance spéciale.


  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2010-05-21 23:39]

That is a really sharp shot of this seldom-seen rail, Jean.
The colors are well saturated and well-exposed.
Your excellent POV offers a very clear view of the beautiful markings.
Love the bent-up toe.
A very handsome bird.
TFS. : )

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