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Marshbirds and Shorebirds of North Dakota

Coots and Rails


Family Rallidae

Most members of the family Rallidae inhabit dense marsh grass and weeds. They have narrow bodies, short rounded wings, short tails, and long toes. Most are secretive, except the American coot, and are often identified only by their call. All rails can swim and dive, but the coots are even further adapted to water due to the development of lobed toes. Most members of the rail family are game birds in North America. The American coot is the only bird in this family that is classified as a game bird in North Dakota. Members of the family Rallidae that nest in North Dakota include American coot, Virginia rail, yellow rail, and sora.


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