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
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 -
Extent of occurrence (EOO)

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 -
Fragmentation -
Population and trend
Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 28000-92000 poor suspected 2001
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) 50-60 - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) 50-60 - - -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulations - - -
Generation length (yrs) 3.7 - - -

Population justification: The global population size of the species has not been quantified directly. The subspecies jamaicensis, which occurs in eastern North and Central America as well as in the Caribbean, is estimated at 25,000-100,000 individuals, roughly equating to 15,000-70,000 mature individuals (Wetlands International 2019). The subspecies cortinuculus, 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 2019). There are no estimates available for the subspecies murivagans and salinasi in western South America (Wetlands International 2019). Tentatively, the population is here placed in the band 28,000-92,000 mature individuals, but this requires confirmation.

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 three generations. It is precautionarily assumed that subspecies jamaicensis is declining at this rate throughout its entire range; indicating that 15,000-70,000 mature individuals decline at 60-69% over three generations. Unless further information becomes available, the remaining 12,000-25,000 mature individuals are assumed to decline moderately rapidly at 20-29% over three generations. This means that the global population would be declining at a rate of roughly 50-60% over three generations. It cannot be ruled out, though, that the three subspecies coturniculus, murivagans and salinasi are declining at a rate similar to jamaicensis; if this were to confirmed, the overall rate of decline may have to be revised upwards.


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 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

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 (2020) Species factsheet: Laterallus jamaicensis. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 05/07/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 05/07/2020.