Published On: Thu, Jan 7th, 2016

BACKYARD BIRDING IN MERIDA, YUCATAN AND BEYOND – OFF THE RAILS: THE RAIL FAMILY

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In the Yucatan Peninsula, crakes, coots, rails, and gallinules belong to the bird family of rails. At least 12 species call the Yucatan home part or all of the year of the 150 species or so in a worldwide distribution, less polar regions, of course.

AMERICAN COOT, member of rail family

AMERICAN COOT, member of rail family

In the following poem, composite descriptions refer only to some of those 12 species in the images. I have no Yucatan photographs of any 5-9 inch, short-billed rails, called crakes. Crikey! In the photos some are hunted as game birds in Canada and all are hunted as game birds in the US except the 17” Gray-necked Wood-Rail. Guess it isn’t “de-railed” since it ranges from eastern Mexico to northern Argentina.

 

HAIL TO THE RAIL

 

Chicken-sized

from bantam to Rhode Island Red

Cocked tails (not cocktails)

GRAY-NECKED WOOD-RAIL, Aramides cajaneus, Rascón Cuello Gris (Spanish), Tutupana (Mayan)

GRAY-NECKED WOOD-RAIL, Aramides cajaneus, Rascón Cuello Gris (Spanish), Tutupana (Mayan)

http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/127498

 

Short or long bills of

Candy-corn, lipstick red,

Pearly white, mellow yellow,

Orangey, dusky

AMERICAN COOT, Fulica americana,  Gallareta Americana (Spanish)

AMERICAN COOT, Fulica americana, Gallareta Americana (Spanish)

http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/43002

 

All with long skinny toes

Red-topped greenish stockings,

Bright yellow boots,

Fleshy brown to orange,

Pale green or

Kinky reddish legs

COMMON GALLINULE Gallinula galeata (formerly Common Moorhen),  Gallineta Frente Roja (Spanish)

COMMON GALLINULE Gallinula galeata (formerly Common Moorhen), Gallineta Frente Roja (Spanish)

http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/96363

 

Coveralls

Cascading rainbow, slaty gray fog,

Camouflage brown,

Reddish-cinnamon,

White stripe,

Black spots and streaks

PURPLE GALLINULE Porphyrio martinicus,  Gallineta Morada (Spanish)

PURPLE GALLINULE Porphyrio martinicus, Gallineta Morada (Spanish)

http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/2857

 

 

Plant, insect dining or

Fish, tadpoles, snails, eggs, nestlings

Secretive, shy

Early morn risers

Forest, swamp or marsh haunters

CLAPPER RAIL Rallus longirostris, Rascón Picudo (Spanish)

CLAPPER RAIL Rallus longirostris, Rascón Picudo (Spanish)

http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/2900

 

SORA  Porzana carolina, Polluela Sora (Spanish)

SORA Porzana carolina, Polluela Sora (Spanish)

http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/2867

 

DON’T MISS THE CHANCE TO RALLY OUTDOORS IN NATURE.

 

 

DISCLAIMER: References do not agree on details about this species. Here are my resources:  Sal a Pajarear Yucatan Guia de Aves,  A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America, Birds and Reserves of the Yucatan Peninsula, http://macaulaylibrary.org/ a website from Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Lives of North American Birds, https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/browse_tax.aspx?family=49, http://www.waterbirdconservation.org/plan/draft2/appendix%202.pdf, https://books.google.com/books?id=3mg50wobsOsC&pg=PA10&lpg=PA10&dq=Current+%23+of+rail+species+worldwide&source=bl&ots=XJHd_IVHnu&sig=gZOilV_PcdLMkkMjf90V-lUK3xQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj0oub-3ZPKAhUG_mMKHRbRBMkQ6AEIKTAC#v=onepage&q=Current%20%23%20of%20rail%20species%20worldwide&f=false, http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2012/oct/21/tips-hunting-snipes-rails-coots-gallinules-and-moo/?f=rivervalley

 

Cherie Pittillo, “nature inspired,” photographer and author, explores nature everywhere she goes. She’s identified 56 bird species in her Merida, Yucatan backyard view. Her column, published on the 7th and 21st of each month, features anecdotes about birding in Merida, Yucatan and beyond. Contact: all4birdies@gmail.com  All rights reserved, ©Cherie Pittillo

 

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  1. Elizabeth says:

    What huge feet they have! Wonderful photos, as always. You are a genius!
    All the best for 2016.

    • Cherie Pittillo says:

      Thanks so much, e. Those long toes enable them to walk on floating vegetation, a great adaptation for food gathering. Have a spectacular 2016, e!

  2. Alinde O'Malley says:

    As always, your photos are stunning. I am not sure why I cannot open all of them, but ….)

    I recently received a new CD named ¨Music Birds Love While You Are Gone; Calming music & soothing stories for your bird.¨

    I suggest that any of your bird/nature loving readers will love this CD as much as I do.

    And yes, my bird does like it as well.

    Alinde

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