Range-wide Wetland Associations of the King Rail: A Multi-scale Approach

Wesley J. Glisson, Courtney J. Conway, Christopher P. Nadeau, Kathi L. Borgmann, Thomas A. Laxson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


King Rail populations have declined and identifying wetland features that influence King Rail occupancy can help prevent further population declines. We integrated continent-wide marsh bird survey data with spatial wetland data from the National Wetland Inventory (NWI) to examine wetland features that influenced King Rail occupancy throughout the species’ range. We analyzed wetland data at 7 spatial scales to examine the scale(s) at which 68 wetland features were most strongly related to King Rail occupancy. Occupancy was most strongly associated with estuarine features and brackish and tidal saltwater regimes. King Rail occupancy was positively associated with emergent and scrub-shrub wetlands and negatively associated with forested wetlands. The best spatial scale for assessing King Rail occupancy differed among wetland features; we could not identify one spatial scale (among all wetland features) that best explained variation in occupancy. Future research on King Rail habitat that includes multiple spatial scales is more likely to identify the suite of features that influence occupancy. Our results indicate that NWI data may be useful for predicting occupancy based on broad habitat features across the King Rail’s range, which may help inform management decisions for this and other wetland-dependent birds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)577-587
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for this research was provided by the Department of Defense Legacy Program (# W9132T-12-2-0026) and the Gap Analysis Program of the U.S. Geological Survey. K. Koch of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provided marsh bird survey data from Indiana. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, US Government.


  • Estuaries
  • Habitat use
  • Marsh bird
  • National Wetland Inventory
  • Spatial scale
  • Species range


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