This largest North American rail species is about the size of a chicken and is sometimes locally called the "Marsh Hen." From six to 15 pale, slightly spotted brown eggs are laid in a shallow depression of the nest. The King Rail is semi-precocial (Reid et al. 1994), meaning that young leave the nest soon after hatching and are under parental care for several weeks, at least until they are capable of flight. - King Rail, rice, callback surveys, nest success, Louisiana, site occupancy. They are built of grasses, sedges and cattails in shallow-water marshes and roadside ditches. ("King Rail", 2001; "King Rail, Life History", 2011; Poole, et al., 2005) Anti-predator Adaptations; cryptic; Known Predators. King rail (Rallus elegans) populations are experiencing long-term declines attributable to habitat loss. Moreover, conservation efforts lack essential information about King Rail habitat use to make informed decisions, especially along the Atlantic coast and during the non-breeding period. King Rails constructed significantly taller nests at sites with greater variation in water level. Overhead cover is often pulled over the nest. Parents spent a greater proportion of time nest building when the water level was closer to the nest rim. Abstract.—Most studies of King Rail (Rallus elegans) have investigated habitat use during the nesting season, while few comparisons have been made between the nesting and brood-rearing seasons. King Rails were located during the nesting season in Missouri using repeated surveys with call playback, and systematic searches for broods were conducted during the brood-rearing season. Key words. King Rail Nest - photo by Noppadol Paothong, Missouri Department of Conservation - Photo Credit: n/a. Average height varied substantially among King Rail nests, indicating plasticity in overall building effort. Unlike smaller nocturnal relatives, including the Black Rail, the King Rail is active during the day. King rail nests are platforms up to nine inches in diameter, six to 18 inches above the water. To address this, radio-telemetry was used to elucidate the spatiotemporal patterns of movement and habitat preferences of King Rails throughout the year. Waterbirds 31(4): 530-540, 2008 The King Rail (Rallus elegans) is a relative-ly large, secretive waterbird that has gar-nered recent attention because of dramatic population declines in the last 30 years throughout its range (Reid et al 1994). During a routine airboat marsh and water bird nest search in Pintail Pool, Refuge Manager Ronald Bell, Volunteer Nate Petersen, and Missouri Department of Conservation Wildlife Photographer Noppadol Paothong, found an unusual nest of 9 eggs that none had ever seen before. 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