Black Rail in Coastal Louisiana

Audubon Louisiana is conducting surveys to better understand and document this rare and elusive species’ status in coastal Louisiana.
Black Rail Photo: Nadje Najar
Black Rail Photo: Nadje Najar

Black Rail in Coastal Louisiana

Audubon Louisiana is conducting surveys to better understand and document this rare and elusive species’ status in coastal Louisiana.
  • The Black Rail is considered critically imperiled in Louisiana and is listed as a Tier 1 Species of Greatest Conservation Need in the Louisiana Wildlife Action Plan. It has also been petitioned for listing under the Endangered Species Act, currently under review by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • Knowledge of the status of species in Louisiana is limited due to lack studies in coastal marshes:
    • Black Rails natural tendency to call at night, along with the vast expanse of marsh habitat in Louisiana, make this species difficult to study using traditional surveys. 
  • Lack of knowledge of the species in Louisiana has resulted in an inability to implement effective conservation measures to benefit this species.
    • Without knowing when and where Black Rail is occurring in the state, restoration and management efforts will be unable to account for the habitat needs of this rare and declining species. 

Audubon Louisiana Black Rail Project:

  • Our Black Rail Project, in cooperation with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will document the presence, or absence, of Black Rails across Louisiana’s coastal zone. 
  • Valuable data will be collected that will allow for the inclusion of this species in restoration and management plans and activities.
  • Our biologists began bird and vegetation surveys in May 2017, identified and scouted possible marsh survey locations, and created a predictive map of Cameron Parish high salt marsh habitat.
  • In November of 2017, we began conducting night-time drag-line surveys in high coastal marsh to locate and band Black and Yellow Rails as part of a migration study.
You can help! 

We will continue to conduct surverys through 2018 and need volunteers! This exciting volunteer opportunity will offer participants to seek out the Gulf Coast’s most elusive marsh bird – the Black Rail.

Between November and February, Audubon Louisiana will be conducting nocturnal drag-line surveys to flush and capture these birds and other rails to assess their status in Louisiana in cooperation with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

For survey dates and more information, contact Justin Lehman at jlehman@audubon.org or 507-696-0085. 



 

How you can help, right now