Rail bird

   Rail (Rallidae) is the common name of a cosmopolitan family of marsh birds. The family includes the rails proper, crakes, coots, and gallinules. The birds called rails live in grassy marshes. They run swiftly over the mud, seeking worms, insects, snails, floating seeds, and plant sprouts to eat. Rails vary in length from 5 to 19 inches. They have long, narrow bodies, short wings and tails, long legs and toes, and loose plumage of mixed black, brown, and gray feathers. The shape of their bodies helps them to slip through the reeds and grasses. The expression "thin as a rail" is said to come from their appearance. Rails migrate hundreds of miles, but they are seldom seen in flight except when chased from cover. They build nests of grasses or reeds on the ground. They lay from 6 to 15 buffy-white eggs, speckled with reddish-brown.
   The rails most common in Europe are the water rail and the corn crake, or land rail, which frequents fields. The king rail, yellow rail, black rail, clapper rail, Virginia rail, and sora (or sora rail) are found in America. The clapper rail is hunted in the southern United States.