Rallus elegans 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Gruiformes Rallidae

Scientific Name: Rallus elegans Audubon, 1834
Common Name(s):
English King Rail
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
Taxonomic Notes: Rallus elegans and R. tenuirostris (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) were previously lumped as R. elegans following AOU (2000). Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993) included tenuirostris within R. longirostris.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Cooper, T.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Symes, A., Taylor, J. & Wheatley, H.
This newly-split rail is suspected to be undergoing a moderately rapid population decline, approaching 30% over 14 years (three generations), owing primarily to the loss, modification and degradation of wetland habitats, and the effects of pesticide use.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Rallus elegans (incorporating ramsdeni) is a widespread and mostly migratory inhabitant of freshwater and brackish wetlands, including modified areas, in eastern Canada and the USA North America, eastern Mexico and Cuba (Taylor and van Perlo 1998).
Countries occurrence:
Canada; Cuba; Mexico; United States
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:5320000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):2500
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The population of elegans is estimated at 104,000-105,000 individuals, and that of ramsdeni 500-999 individuals (Wetlands International 2014).

Trend Justification:  The species is in decline owing mainly to the loss, fragmentation and degradation of wetland habitats (Cooper 2008). Qualitative observations and Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data are indicative of declines across most of the species’s range in the USA, although caution is advised in using BBS data, as the methods and coverage of these surveys may not provide the most reliable data for this species (reviewed by Cooper 2008). Overall, a moderately rapid population decline, approaching 30% over 14 years (three generations), is suspected.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:UnknownContinuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Freshwater and locally brackish marshes, successional stages of marsh-shrub swamp, rice fields, flooded farmland, river margins, and upland fields near marshes. Occasionally in salt-marsh during migration (del Hoyo et al. 1996).
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):4.6
Movement patterns:Full Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Severe declines have been evident in northern part of range since the 1940s, mainly as result of loss, modification and degradation of wetland habitats, and pesticide use. Populations in southern USA appear more stable. Birds often killed in muskrat traps, and are frequent road casualties when forced to move during floods in breeding season. Current status of race ramsdeni not clear (del Hoyo et al. 1996).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation and research actions underway A conservation plan exists (Cooper 2008).

Conservation and research actions proposed Survey wetlands throughout the range to obtain population and trend estimates. Clarify scale and severity of threats. Protect wetland habitats within its range.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Rallus elegans. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T62155060A95190392. . Downloaded on 19 August 2018.
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