• Photo by David Seibel
  • Photo by David Seibel

Black Rail

Eastern Black Rail Conservation & Management Working Group

The black rail may be the most endangered bird species along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of North America. It is unlikely that black rails will persist in many portions of this range without timely and appropriate conservation action.

Black rail populations have been declining in the eastern United States for over a century resulting in a retraction of its breeding range, an overall reduction in the number of breeding locations within its core range, and a loss of individuals within historic strongholds. Over the past 10-20 years, some reports indicate that populations have declined 75% or greater and have become dangerously low. Recent evidence suggests that black rails may only breed in a dozen or fewer places in each state along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.
The Center for Conservation Biology chairs the Eastern Black Rail conservation and Management Working Group. Two specific goals of this workgroup will be to create a multi-authored Status Assessment and a Conservation Action Plan.