Elusive wetland bird added to FL’ s endangered species list

State / Regional

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) – The state of Florida has added one of the most elusive wetland birds to its endangered and threatened species.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commissioners met Thursday and Friday online, adopting the eastern black rail bird to the list, in order to be consistent with federal protections. It is the size of a sparrow, found in marshy areas, and is described by Audubon as “extremely secretive.”

Rarely seen or heard, the black rail’s habitat is disappearing rapidly as climate change and development continue to destroy wetlands. 

Some of the birds’ preferred habitat has been converted to homes and golf course communities.

“They stay to the dense overhead vegetation and are like mice in the marsh moving through runnels and very reluctant to fly,” Bryan Watts, director of the College of William and Mary’s Center for Conservation Biology told The News-Press.

The birds were first logged in the science community in the mid-1700s after being discovered in the Caribbean.

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