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Virginia Rail (2023)

(Rallus limicola)

According to the North American Breeding Bird Survey, between 1966 and 2015 overall populations appear to have been stable, but the birds' secretive nature makes evaluating their abundance problematic.

It breeds in wetlands with sedges and cattails in scattered locations across Pennsylvania. Mainly nocturnal, it eats insects and their larvae, including beetles, flies, and dragonflies. Virginia rails build a nest on a platform of cattails, grasses, and reeds, in a dry zone of the marsh, where living vegetation may form a canopy overhead.

Resident to short-distance migrant. Some populations in the southern part of their range are year-round residents, while others migrate short distances at night to the southern U.S. and Mexico.


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