King Rail

Photo by: USFWS
King Rail

Good times to observe


The king rail’s neck and belly are rusty brown and contrast with the black and white barring in the sides. The dark brown upper parts are boldly streaked with a yellowish color. A rusty brown stripe runs from the bill, over the crown and down the back of the neck to frame the gray face. They also have a long reddish- brown bill, and thick legs with long unwebbed feet. King Rails are 15 inches long with a 20-inch wingspan.

DuPage County Notes

The king rail is a rare bird of the larger marshes. Secretive, as are rails in general, it is a potential nester within DuPage County’s larger cattail marshes. They are omnivorous and in the summer their diet depends heavily on aquatic animals and insects, including crayfish, crabs, small fish, frogs, grasshoppers, and beetles.

Typical and characteristic habitat