King Rail x Clapper Rail
A friend recently sent me a couple of photos of what he told me was a Clapper Rail at Hammonasset Beach State Park. I took a look and immediately thought this bird looked like a good candidate for a hybrid of King and Clapper, a phenomenon that is not all that uncommon, at least in some places. This hybridization has been well documented and is generally thought to occur where salinity readings average 5,670ppm; Kings preferring lower salinity and Clapper higher.
I sent the pictures to a couple of expert friends and they concur that this is indeed a hybrid bird exhibiting a characteristic mottled appearance. Interesting! AG