I found this Clapper Rail foraging in Cherry Grove, South Carolina. A very secretive bird who tends to stay concealed in dense vegetation for most of its life. They live in saltwater marshes and mangrove swamps from the US East Coast down to Central America and the Caribbean.
The Ridgway’s Rail can be found in Arizona, Nevada and California. Originally these rails were considered one species, but they were split into 3 different species, the Clapper Rail on the US East Coast, the Ridgway’s Rail on the US West and the Mangrove Rail of South America. You can tell them apart by the location that you find them at…
The photo of the Ridway’s Rail below looks different than the photo of the Clapper Rail above, the rail above looks like it was rolling around in the mud, while the other is clean and dry. The Clapper Rail above was actually running around the mud with its young, trying to keep an eye on it while also looking for food to keep it fed, so no wonder it looks a bit ragged!
The Ridgway’s Rail is strictly a salt marsh bird, occasionally seen in adjacent brackish marshes. Along the lower Colorado River there are some Ridgway’s Rails that live in the freshwater marshes.
Their diet consists of insects, fish and crustaceans, especially crabs. They all forage the same way, by walking in shallow water or on the mud and pick up items from the ground.