Virginia Rail (Rallus limicola)

The Virginia rail is considered a game bird in parts of North America, but it is not often actively hunted - ducks are so much larger and easier to spot! However, loss of wetland habitats to agriculture has caused population declines in some areas.


The Virginia rail breeds throughout the northern two-thirds of the United States, and in parts of southern and western Canada. Birds may be seen year-round on the Pacific coast, from British Columbia to central Baja, and on the Atlantic coast from Massachusetts to North Carolina. In winter, migrants may also be seen in southern Baja, on the southeast United States coastline, and on both the east and west coasts of Mexico.

Breeding occurs in freshwater environments. For a complete species account, visit the Great Lakes section.