The Yellow Rail is a small bird with a short tail, short bill and buff-coloured plumage. The wide dark stripes on its back are crossed by white bars. The white wing patch, which is visible in flight, helps distinguish Yellow Rails from other similar marsh birds. Yellow Rails are rarely seen. They expertly hide in the dense marsh vegetation, aided by their camouflaged plumage.
The unique call of the Yellow Rail is a rapid series of five monotonous and metallic ticks (or clicks) sounding like two pebbles or coins tapped together: tick-tick, tick-tick-tick. Calling can mainly be heard during the hours from dusk to dawn and the sound can carry for up to a kilometre away.
Weight: Males, 60 g (2 oz). Length: 15 to 19 cm (5.9 to 7.5 in).