New York Natural Heritage Program
Black Rail
Laterallus jamaicensis (Gmelin, 1789)
Black Rail (Laterallus jamaicensis) Ashok Kholsa
Family: Rails, Gallinnules, and Coots (Rallidae)

State Protection: Endangered
A native species in imminent danger of extirpation or extinction in New York (includes any species listed as federally Endangered by the United States). It is illegal to take, import, transport, possess, or sell an animal listed as Endangered, or its parts, without a permit from NYSDEC. 1) Any native species in imminent danger of extirpation or extinction in New York. 2) Any species listed as endangered by the United States Department of the Interior.

Federal Protection: Migratory Bird Treaty Act
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act implements various treaties and conventions between the U. S. and Canada, Japan, Mexico and the former Soviet Union for the protection of migratory birds. Under this Act, taking, killing, or possessing migratory birds, including nests or eggs, is unlawful unless specifically permitted by other regulations.

State Rarity Rank: S1B
A State Rarity Rank of S1B means: Typically 5 or fewer breeding occurrences and very limited breeding acres, making it especially vulnerable in New York State.

Global Rarity Rank: G3G4
A Global Rarity Rank of G3G4 means: Vulnerable globally, or Apparently Secure -- At moderate risk of extinction, with relatively few populations or locations in the world, few individuals, and/or restricted range; or uncommon but not rare globally; may be rare in some parts of its range; possibly some cause for long-term concern due to declines or other factors. More information is needed to assign a single conservation status.

Did you know?
The Black Rail is the smallest rail in North America. In New York, there is only one known breeding population, making this species one of the state's rarest breeding birds (McGowan and Corwin 2008).

State Ranking Justification [-]
In New York, there is only a single known location that Black Rails inhabit reliably (McGowan and Corwin 2008). A few other records from the breeding season exist but none have been confirmed breeding locations. A few nonbreeding records exist in the state, all from Long Island, and some of these individuals may be residents (McGowan and Corwin 2008). New York is at the northern extent of the species' eastern range. The closest neighboring populations, in New Jersey, are thought to be declining (Walsh et al. 1999, McGowan and Corwin 2008). Black Rails are listed as endangered by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.

Short-term Trends [-]

Long-term Trends [-]