New York Natural Heritage Program
King Rail
Rallus elegans Audubon, 1834

New York State Distribution [-]
New York is the northern limit of the King Rail's range. Now and historically, King Rails are considered to be a very uncommon breeder in the state. Scattered breeding has been reported from extensive marshes in western New York, the Hudson River Valley, and Long Island. During the winter, King Rails have been reported from several localities on Long Island. Most of the reports have been from the coastal areas where specimens have been taken from muskrat traps set in salt marshes. There have also been few reports of wintering King Rails from central and western New York. (Hamilton 1925a,b, Kuerzi 1926, Levine 1998)

Global Distribution [-]
King Rails breed locally from Kansas, eastern Nebraska, Iowa, and Minnesota east across the northern United States and southern Ontario to southern New England, south to southern Texas, southern Louisiana, central Mississippi, central Alabama and southern Florida; Cuba; and the interior of Mexico. The greatest densities occur in the Atlantic and Gulf coast marshes, and in the rice belts of Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas (Meanley 1969). The King Rail winters along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts from Mexico to New York and in the lower Mississippi Valley (Meanly 1969, 1992).
Best Places to See
• Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge (Genesee County)
• Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge (Seneca County)
• Oak Orchard Wildlife Management Area (Genesee County)
• Tonawanda Wildlife Management Area (Genesee, Niagara Counties)