USGS - science for a changing world

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

  Home About NPWRC Our Science Staff Employment Contacts Common Questions About the Site

Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Yellow Rail -- Coturnicops noveboracensis


RANGE: Breeds locally from northwestern Alberta and southern Mackenzie to southern Quebec and New Brunswick south to southern Alberta, North Dakota, southern Wisconsin, southern Ontario, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Winters from coastal North Carolina south to southern Florida, west along the Gulf Coast to central and southeastern Texas; in Mexico; and locally from Oregon south to southern California.

STATUS: Depending on locality, common, rare, or casual.

HABITAT: Highly secretive; spends most of its time beneath dense, rank vegetation. Inhabits shallow, freshwater, grassy, and sedge marshes and wet meadows. In fall and winter, lives in high margins of fresh and saltwater marshes, savannahs, grainfields, hayfields, and among garden crops.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Marshes or wet meadows.

NEST: Prefers to nest in drier portions of marsh, usually where ground is damp but there is no standing water. Conceals nest in dense clumps of marsh grasses, with surrounding vegetation forming canopy over the nest.

FOOD: Eats small snails, insects, seeds of sedges, grasses, and clover leaves (very little has been reported on food habits).

REFERENCES: Anderson 1977, Devitt 1939, Terres 1980, Walkinshaw 1939.


Previous Section -- Family Rallidae
Return to Family List
Return to Contents

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo USA.gov logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
URL: http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/birds/forest/species/cotunove.htm
Page Contact Information: Webmaster
Page Last Modified: Friday, 01-Feb-2013 19:23:45 EST
Menlo Park, CA [caww55]