A review and synthesis of existing information were used to develop a model suitable for evaluating the quality of coastal habitat of clapper rails (Rallus longirostris). The model is scaled to produce an index of habitat suitability between 0 (unsuitable habitat) and 1 (optimally suitable habitat) for coastal areas of the continental United States. Habitat suitability indices are designed for use with Habitat Evaluation Procedures previously developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Guidelines for clapper rail model applications and techniques for estimating model variables are discussed.