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Virginia Rail

By Tom Sanders

© Tom Sanders View Large

The normally secretive Virginia Rail, photographed by Tom Sanders —

As an adaptation for the dense vegetation of their marshland habitat, Virginia Rails have modified tips on their head feathers that help prevent premature feather wear. They also molt twice a year; a simultaneous tail and wing molt renders them flightless for a time. Good thing they are such good runners! Rails have the highest leg-to-wing muscle ratios of any bird.

See another image of this bird, showing off the slender profile rails are famous for >>

Listen to BirdNote shows about the Virginia Rail >>