Monday, June 1


Note that these recordings (unless noted) were of unseen birds.

Clapper Rails grunting at dusk (Apr, NJ).

Clapper Rail kek calls (dusk, April, NJ).

Two presumed Clapper Rails calling in close proximity, one with a softer,grating call, the other with a tik-like call (dusk, Apr, NJ).

softer call


A louder grating call (dusk, May, NJ).

A higher-pitched version (Apr, NJ).

Kicker call (see under King Rail), heard from several birds in early June at Moore's beach, NJ.

Clapper Rails occasionally emit a low soft hoo, which sounds remarkably like a Eurasian Bittern booming. Heard better with headphones. (4.00am, Apr, NJ).

(frequency axis increased)

Hoo/boom followed by multiple birds grunting (Apr, NJ).

Kek calls of Clapper Rail and King Rail overlap and so without verification by sight the identification of many calling birds is presumptive.This is a probable King Rail based on the steady, slower pace of the notes over a long period of time, and the fact that it was recorded at a known King Rail site (May, DE).

Other King Rail calls are similar to those of Clapper Rail.
The King Rail kicker call is thought to be made by females looking for a mate, but may be used in other contexts (Feb,FL).

Tuk calls by same bird, sounding a little like bill snapping (Feb, FL).

Pair grunting (Feb, FL)

(reduced scale)

Grunting, with two churr-like calls at 82 and 92s possibly King Rail vocalizations (Feb,FL)

Hoo or boom calls by presumed King Rail, in same freshwater habitat as the other recordings (Feb, FL).

King/Clapper Rail nocturnal flight call (kicker call given by females, 2.00am, May, PA)

Virginia Rails have a squeakier grunting call than Clapper Rails, and as with that species, the grunt is often a duet by the male and female. The female call is higher (Apr, NJ).

Single bird grunting (Apr, NJ)

The ti-dik call of the Virginia Rail is thought to be made primarily by unmated males (Mar, PA).

(Apr, PA).

(May, ND)

This call can be heard during nocturnal migration (12.45am, May, PA)

A less obvious example (3.40am, Sep, PA).

The kicker call is apparently made by unmated females in spring. This bird vocalized spontaneously in July; a nearby rail was heard grunting, so I'm not sure what the breeding status was of this individual (July, PA).

A one or two part churr without the introductory notes of the kicker call was also heard by the same bird.

Another example (Mar, PA)

This call by a nocturnal migrant appears to be similar to the last part of the "kicker" call (6.01am, Sep, PA)

Occasionally heard is this staccato call (June, PA)

Sometimes it is more grating (June, PA)

An observed Virginia Rail calling in Scarborough Marsh, Maine in July.

The common call of Sora (8.30pm, April, PA)

(May, ND).

Sora whinny (May, PA).

(May, ND)

Short contact call (Aug, PA)

(migrants,with Killdeer, Sep, PA).

Sora nocturnal flight call (1.42am, May, PA)

The Yellow Rail sounds like a typewriter (May, ND). This bird was one of the highlights of a trip to North Dakota, and was recorded shortly after sunset at a marsh near Towner. It only called for a couple of minutes in the 2 hours we were there.

Spring migrant at Chincoteague WMR, VA (6.15am,early May)