Family: (Rallidae) Rails, Gallinules and Coots
Preferred Habitat: Freshwater marshes.
Seasonal Occurrence: Most easily found in April. Uncommon October through March.
Notes: The Virginia Rail is a secretive lurker among dense vegetation in our marshes. Although it prefers freshwater marshes, it may occasionally be found in salt marshes. It is about half the size of the King Rail but very similar in coloring. Unlike the King Rail, the cheeks of the Virginia Rail are a clearly defined gray. Other distinguishing marks include its bill and legs which are often reddish in color. Immatures are at first very dark then mottled gray on the breast. Among the best places to look for Virginia Rails are the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge and the Bolivar Peninsula.
- Susan Billetdeaux