Wild Birds

Clapper Rails: Species and Ranges

The western subspecies are endangered mostly due to destruction of their coastal habitat.

The eastern forms are still quite common and their populations appear to be stable; however, their numbers appear to be in decline as well largely due to habitat destruction.

  • Clapper Rail (Rallus longirostris longirostris – Boddaert, 1783) – Nominate Race
    • Range: South America: Along the coasts of Guyana, Surinam and French Guiana.
  • California or San Francisco Bay Clapper Rail, Western Rail (Rallus longirostris obsoletus – Ridgway, 1874)
    • Sometimes lumped together with the King Rail (Rallus elegans)Range: USA: Central California, with highest concentrations in the San Francisco Bay, where 1,000 to 1,500 birds are found and a small group occurs along the Colorado River.
  • Rallus longirostris levipes – Bangs, 1899
    • Sometimes lumped together with the King Rail (Rallus elegans)Range: USA / Mexico: Coastal central California south to northern Baja California.
  • San Blas, Sonora or Yuma Clapper Rail(Rallus longirostris yumanensis – Dickey, 1923)
    • Sometimes lumped together with the King Rail (Rallus elegans)Range:USA / Mexico: Southeastern California, southern Arizona and northwestern Mexico.
  • Clapper Rail (Rallus longirostris)
    Belding’s or South Baja Clapper Rail, Belding’s Rail(Rallus longirostris beldingi – Ridgway, 1882)
    • Range: Southern Baja California.
      • [Magdalena Clapper Rail, Rallus longirostris magdalenae – van Rossem, 1947] – subspecies usually considered invalid
        • Sometimes lumped together with the King Rail (Rallus elegans)
        • Range: USA / Mexico: Tidal lagoons of the Pacific coast of Baja California – from Magdalena Bay north to Seammon Lagoon. Probably to San Quintin Bay (Ref. Proceedings of Biological Society of Washington, May 10, 1947)
  • Northern Clapper Rail(Rallus longirostris crepitans – Gmelin, 1789)
    • Range: USA: Coastal Connecticut to northeastern North Carolina.
  • Wayne’s Clapper Rail(Rallus longirostris waynei – Brewster, 1899)
    • Range: USA: Coastal southeastern North Carolina to eastern Florida.
  • Louisiana Clapper Rail(Rallus longirostris saturatus – Ridgway, 1880)
    • Range: USA / Mexico: Gulf coast from southwestern Alabama to extreme northeastern Mexico (Tamaulipas).
  • Yucatan Clapper Rail(Rallus longirostris pallidus – Nelson, 1905)
    • Range: Mexico: Southeastern Mexico along coastal Yucatán
  • Rallus longirostris grossi – Paynter, 1950
    • Range: Mexico: Southeastern Mexico: Quintana Roo
  • Honduras Clapper Rail(Rallus longirostris belizensis – Oberholser, 1937)
    • Range: Belize: Punta Ycacos Lagoon
  • Florida of Gulf Coast Clapper Rail(Rallus longirostris scotti – Sennett, 1888) –
    • Range: USA: Coastal Florida
  • Brooks’s or Mangrove Clapper Rail (Rallus longirostris insularum – W. S. Brooks, 1920)
    • Range: USA: Florida Keys
  • Bahama Clapper Rail (Rallus longirostris coryi – Maynard, 1887)
    • Range: Bahamas north of Cuba
  • Isle of Pines Clapper Rail (Rallus longirostris leucophaeus – Todd, 1913)
    • Cuba: Isla de la Juventud (“Isle of Youth”) formerly known as the Isle of Pines
  • Antiguan, Antillean, Caribbean, Cuban, Hispaniolan or Puerto Rican Clapper Rail(Rallus longirostris caribaeus – Ridgway, 1880)
    • Range: Cuba to Puerto Rico and Lesser Antilles east to Antigua, also Guadeloupe.
      • [Rallus longirostris manglecola – Danforth, 1934] – subspecies usually considered invalid [Rallus longirostris limnetis – Oberholser, 1937] – subspecies usually considered invalid
  • Rallus longirostris cypereti – Taczanowski, 1877
    • Range: South America – along the coasts from extreme southwestern Colombia (Nariño) through Ecuador to extreme northwestern Peru (Tumbes).
  • Rallus longirostris phelpsi – Wetmore, 1941
    • Range: South America – extreme northeastern Colombia and extreme northwestern Venezuela.
      • [Rallus longirostris dillonripleyi – Phelps and Aveledo, 1987] – subspecies usually considered invalid
  • Rallus longirostris margaritae – Zimmer and Phelps, 1944
    • Caribbean Sea: Margarita Island (Isla de Margarita)
  • Rallus longirostris pelodramus – Oberholser, 1937
    • Range: Trinidad – the southernmost island in the CaribbeanID: Plumage is more heavily marked with black above.
  • Rallus longirostris crassirostris – Lawrence, 1871
    • Range: South America – coastal Brazil from Amazon estuary to Santa Catarina.
Clapper Rail (Rallus longirostris)

Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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