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Wild About Birds - Illinois Rails, Gallinules, Coots and Cranes!

Family and Species Gallery

Kingdom: Animalia - Animals are multicellular organisms that rely on other organisms for nourishment. There cells do not have cell walls. Most animals are capable of movement at least in some portion of their life cycle. Reproduction is generally sexual, but in some animals asexual reproduction may be utilized at certain times.
Phylum: Chordata - The Phylum Chordata contains the vertebrate animals. Mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fishes are included in this phylum. These animals have a notochord at some point in their development. They have a tubular nerve cord along the back. Gill slits and a tail are present at some point in their life cycle. They have an internal skeleton.
Class: Aves - Birds are the only organisms with feathers. They are endotherms, maintaining a nearly constant body temperature. They have a hard bill but no teeth. A gizzard, which functions to grind food, is present in the digestive tract. Fertilization is internal. A nest is built in which the hard-shelled eggs are deposited and incubated.
Order: Gruiformes - Cranes, limpkins and rails are small- to medium-sized birds with rounded wings. Either these birds are have long legs, long necks and are good flyers or they have small legs, small necks and are not god flyers.
Family: Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots) - Rails, coots and gallinules have a ducklike body shape and size. These birds have a small- to medium-sized, compact body. Both sexes are similar in appearance. The neck and head are small while the legs and toes are long.
     king rail (Rallus elegans) [state endangered]
     Virginia rail (Rallus limicola)
     sora (Porzana carolina)
     common gallinule (Gallinula galeata) [state endangered]
     American coot (Fulica americana)
     purple gallinule (Porphyrio martinicus)
     yellow rail (Coturnicops noveboracensis)
     black rail (Laterallus jamaicensis) [endangered]

Family: Gruidae (Cranes) - Cranes are large birds with long legs. Many have red in the facial area. The feathers over the rump stick out in a "bustle." These birds fly with the neck and legs extended.
     sandhill crane (Antigone canadensis)
     whooping crane (Grus americana) [federally endangered]