Color of the tarsi and toes of the black rail
- B. Meanley and R.E. Stewart
Examination of two fresh specimens of the Black Rail (Laterallus jamaicensis) has prompted us to call attention to the color of the tarsi and toes of this species, since our observations do not agree with published accounts. Audubon (Ornithological Biography, vol. IV; 361, 1838) and Friedmann (Birds of North and Middle America, U.S. Nat'l. Mus. Bull., 50: 154, 1941) state that the tarsi and toes are bright yellowish-green. Descriptions in other publications are similar. Prominent bird artists, including Fuertes, have depicted the color of these appendages as yellowish-green, yellow, or green; while Allan Brooks' illustration of this species (The Book of Birds, vol. I, National Geographic Society, p. 291, 1932) shows pink legs.
An adult female specimen was collected by J. A. Hagar, C. S. Robbins, and R. E. Stewart near Elliott Island, Maryland, on 8 June 1958. A second adult Black Rail, presumed to be a female by its dull color and call, was caught alive by the authors in the same area on 17 June 1958, and is still held in captivity. The tarsi and toes of these two birds show no trace of yellow or green. They appear grayish, matching "Flint" (plate 56-1C) or "Gunmetal" (plate 48-2C) in Maerz and Paul's "A Dictionary of Color" (1930), and "blackish-brown" in the color charts provided with Palmer and Reilly's "A Concise Color Standard" (Am. Ornith. Union Handbook Fund, 1956). A grayed-off blackish-brown would seem to be an appropriate description.
Additional publication details
- Publication type:
- Publication Subtype:
- Journal Article
- Color of the tarsi and toes of the black rail
- Series title:
- The Auk
- Year Published:
- American Ornithological Society
- Contributing office(s):
- Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
- 2 p.
- First page:
- Last page: