SREL Reprint #2668




Nest characteristics of the Clapper Rail in coastal Georgia

Karen F. Gaines, James C. Cumbee, Jr., and Warren Stephens, Jr.

Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, University of Georgia, PO. Drawer E, Aiken, South Carolina 29802 USA

Abstract: The nesting habitat of the Clapper Rail (Rallus longirostris) is not well studied in the southeastern United States. We documented Clapper Rail nest characteristics and surrounding habitats near Brunswick on the Georgia coast. Of 159 nests found, only 29 were active. Although some nests may have been abandoned or never used, many could have been depredated. Nests were constructed farther away from tidal influences than in those populations studied in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. Clapper Rails also tended to nest near tidal pools as frequently as tidal creeks, contrasting with other Atlantic coast studies. The greater tidal amplitude of Brunswick as compared to the mid-Atlantic coast may explain this finding. Tidal-creek nests were found farther away from, and were associated with taller vegetation near the banks of, a water source than tidal-pool nests. While nest placement differed based on habitat characteristics in this study, nest-structure morphometrics were similar between tidal-creek and tidal-pool habitats and were consistent with those found in other regions of the country.

Keywords: Georgia, Rallus longirostris, Spartina alterniflora, tidal-creek, tidal-pool

SREL Reprint #2668

Gaines, K. F., J. C. Cumbee, Jr., and W. L. Stephens, Jr. 2003. Nest characteristics of the clapper rail in coastal Georgia. Journal of Field Ornithology 74:152-156.

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