RIDGWAY'S RAIL (FORMERLY THE CALIFORNIA CLAPPER RAIL)

Rallus obsoletus

STATUS : ENDANGERED SPECIES

 

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All Images and content on this site are 2018 David J. Cogswell Photography. All rights reserved. All images and content may not be copied or used in any form without written permission from Cogswellphoto.com

 

 

 

The Ridgway's Rail is one of the rarest of the native waterbirds that can be found in the marshes and estuaries of San Francisco Bay. In the early 1900s, these small waterbirds were on the menus of elite San Francisco restaurants. Loss of habitiat and hunting eventually brought the population down to approximately 300 birds. In 1970, the California Clapper Rail (now identified as the Ridgway's Rail) was added to the endangered species list and it is now estimated that there are approximately 2,000 to 3,000 Rails living in the marshlands of San Francisco Bay.

Ridgway's Rails feed on Shellfish and Invertebrates. In this photo, this rail can be seen foraging for small clams and invertebrates that it located by probing the muddy flats during a low tide. Ground dwelling birds that prefer to walk rather than fly, Rails are capabable of short flights, useful for crossing waterways to evade predators. Ridgway's Rails are secretive for the most part and ususally remain under the cover of the marshes vegetation where they are out of the sight of predators like the Marsh Hawk. At sunset, the unusual call of the Rail (which sounds something like a rusty car jack) can be heard when the Rails briefly reveal their location as they call to one another under the canopy of pickleweed.

 

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