The clapper rail is one of the largest rail species, 13 to 16 inches in length. They can be distinguished by their chicken-like appearance, long unwebbed toes, long decurved bill and frequent upturned tail with white under tail covert feathers. Clapper rails are olive-brown or gray-brown, with vertical gray-white barred flanks and buff or rust-colored breasts. The subspecies found along the Atlantic Coast generally has a paler appearance than other populations. Males are slightly larger than females but similar in coloration. Juveniles are generally more uniformly colored than adults. Clapper rails produce an astounding variety of calls, the most notable being kek-kek-kek or chock-chock-chock. Regardless of the interpretation, the primary call is loud and clattering in a series of 20 to 25 notes, lowering in pitch and increasing in tempo. Females have been heard to give a “purr” call.
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