EN
Black Rail Laterallus jamaicensis



Taxonomy

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
Fjeldså, J. 1983. A Black Rail from Junín, central Peru: Laterallus jamaicensis tuerosi ssp. n. (Aves: Rallidae). Steenstrupia: 277-282.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- A2ace+3ce+4ace A2ace+3ce+4ace

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2021 Endangered A2ace+3ce+4ace
2019 Endangered A2ace+3ce+4ace
2016 Near Threatened A2c+3c+4c
2012 Near Threatened A2c+3c+4c
2008 Near Threatened A2c; A3c; A4c
2006 Near Threatened
2004 Near Threatened
2000 Lower Risk/Near Threatened
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Near Threatened
Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type Land-mass type - continent
Average mass -
Distribution

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 40,400,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 39,700,000 medium
Number of locations -
Severely Fragmented -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 10000-49999 poor suspected 2019
Population trend Decreasing poor estimated -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) 50-79 - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) 50-79 - - -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Percentage in largest subpopulation - - -

Population justification: The global population size of this species has not been quantified directly and a distinct paucity of data renders the calculation of reliable estimates difficult. The subspecies jamaicensis, which occurs in eastern North and Central America as well as in the Caribbean, was estimated in the year 2000 to number 25,000-100,000 individuals, roughly equating to 15,000-70,000 mature individuals (Wetlands International 2020). However, given the dramatic declines witnessed in this subspecies in the years since, it would appear that this figure is a considerable overestimate. Watts (2016) recently provided an accurate estimate for the population of jamaicensis residing on the USA's eastern coast between New England and Florida, 455-1,315 breeding pairs or 910-2,630 mature individuals, however this population does not incorporate those individuals that comprise the Texan, central USA, Caribbean or Brazilian individuals of the same subspecies. No other population estimates are thought to be currently available for jamaicensis. The subspecies coturniculus, which occurs in California and northern Mexico, is estimated at 10,000-25,000 individuals, roughly equating to 7,000-17,000 mature individuals (Wetlands International 2020). There are no estimates available for the subspecies murivagans and salinasi in western South America (Wetlands International 2020). As a result, the global population is tentatively placed in the band 10,000-49,999 mature individuals however, such estimates require confirmation and are liable to change should more accurate estimates be provided.

Trend justification: This species is facing a number of serious threats which are thought to be causing declines in many parts of its range. The number of recent records suggest it is extremely scarce or no longer occurs in a number of former areas.
A recent projection of the future resilience of the subspecies jamaicensis in the eastern U.S.A. based on survey data of known populations used different scenarios of sea level rise, land management and the combined effects of both; it shows that the species is undergoing a steep decline and that there is a high probability that the species will be extirpated in the area by 2068 (USFWS 2018a). The surveys give evidence of a population decline at 90% along the east coast of the country since the early 1990s (USFWS 2018b), which is projected to continue. This decline equates to a rate of c. 60-69% over a ten year period and it is precautionarily assumed that subspecies jamaicensis is declining at this rate throughout its entire range.
The other three subspecies coturniculus, murivagans, and salinasi inhabit similar habitats and are likely faced with the same threats posed to jamaicensis, particularly those associated with climate change, and are therefore assumed to be undergoing declines at a similar rate. The rate of population decline for the global population is therefore tentatively placed in the band 50-79% across a ten year period, although further detailed population assessments are required to confirm this trend.


Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Antigua and Barbuda V Extant
Argentina N Extant Yes
Bahamas V Extant
Belize N Extant Yes
Bermuda (to UK) V Extant Yes
Brazil N Extant Yes
Chile N Extant Yes
Colombia U Extant Yes
Costa Rica N Extant Yes
Cuba N Extant Yes
Dominican Republic N Extant Yes
Guatemala N Extinct Yes
Haiti N Extant Yes
Honduras N Extant Yes
Jamaica N Extant Yes
Mexico N Extant Yes
Panama N Extant Yes
Peru N Extant Yes
Puerto Rico (to USA) N Extant Yes
USA N Extant Yes Yes Yes
Virgin Islands (to USA) N Extant Yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Peru Río Tambo y Lagunas de Mejía
Peru Santuario Nacional Tabaconas-Namballe
Colombia Santuario de Fauna y Flora Malpelo
Costa Rica Arenal-Monteverde
Costa Rica Cahuita, Gandoca-Manzanillo and Migratory Bird Corridor
Costa Rica Central Volcanic Cordillera
Costa Rica La Amistad Caribe
Costa Rica Caribbean lowlands and wetlands
Costa Rica Maleku - Caño Negro
Costa Rica Pacuare, coastal wetlands and Migratory Bird Corridor
Mexico Área de San Quintín
Cuba Ciénaga de Zapata
Mexico Delta del Río Colorado
Chile Humedal de Batuco
Chile Santuario de la Naturaleza Carlos Anwandter, Sector Guacamayo y otros Sectores Aledaños
USA Southern Dorchester County
USA Bear Island Wildlife Management Area
USA Imperial Reservoir
USA Mittry Lake State Wildlife Area
USA Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge
USA Imperial National Wildlife Refuge
USA San Pablo Bay Wetlands
USA Suisun Marsh
USA Lower Colorado River Valley
USA St. Johns National Wildlife Refuge
Chile Santuario de la Naturaleza Península de Hualpén
Chile Laguna Grande de San Pedro de la Paz y Humedal Los Batros

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Marine Intertidal Salt Marshes (Emergent Grasses) major breeding
Wetlands (inland) Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands major breeding
Altitude 0 - 4100 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Agro-industry farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Agriculture & aquaculture Livestock farming & ranching - Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Climate change & severe weather Droughts Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Rapid Declines Medium Impact: 7
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Reduced reproductive success
Climate change & severe weather Storms & flooding Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Rapid Declines Medium Impact: 7
Stresses
Species disturbance, Ecosystem degradation, Reduced reproductive success, Species mortality
Natural system modifications Dams & water management/use - Abstraction of ground water (unknown use) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation
Pollution Agricultural & forestry effluents - Type Unknown/Unrecorded Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation
Pollution Industrial & military effluents - Type Unknown/Unrecorded Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Laterallus jamaicensis. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 01/10/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 01/10/2022.