Wildlife - Species

King Rail - Photo by Keith McCullough

Hunting Regulations

Migratory Birds

Marsh Birds


The expansive wetlands in South Carolina provide habitat for a variety of marsh birds including rails, gallinules, bitterns, grebes, and coots. Many marsh bird species are heard more frequently than seen and have distinctive calls but cryptic plumage. Detailed information about the ecology and conservation statuses of the marsh birds of South Carolina is available in the species accounts in the State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP).

Marsh Birds Regularly Observed in South Carolina

Common Name Scientific Name Conservation Status Hunting Season
American Bittern Botaurus lentiginosus Highest priority None
Black Rail * Laterallus jamaicensis Highest priority; Proposed Federally Threatened None
Clapper Rail * Rallus longirostris Highest priority Yes
Common Gallinule * Gallinula galeata Moderate priority Yes
Horned Grebe Podiceps auritus Highest priority None
King Rail * Rallus elegans Highest priority Yes
Least Bittern * Ixobrychus exilis Highest priority None
Pied-billed Grebe * Podilymbus podiceps Highest priority None
Purple Gallinule * Porphyrula martinica Highest priority Yes
Sora Porzana carolina High priority Yes
Virginia Rail Rallus limicola High priority Yes
Yellow Rail Coturnicops noveboracensis Highest priority None

Species with an asterisks (*) behind their common names nest in the state. Other species are present during migration and/or their non-breeding season. Conservation statuses from the State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) and hunting seasons are from the Migratory Bird Regulations.

Black Rail Project

Christy Hand
Wildlife Biologist
SCDNR Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division
585 Donnelley Drive
Green Pond, SC 29446
Email: handc@dnr.sc.gov

Amy Tegeler
Bird Conservation Coordinator
SCDNR Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division
P.O. Box 23205
Columbia, SC 29224
Email: tegelera@dnr.sc.gov

Seasonal Technicians
Katie Gundermann, Sammy Chandhok and Tori Thorpe (2018)
Ben Donnelley and Zena Casteel (2017)
Kristin Brunk, Samantha Apgar, and Abbie Dwire (2016)
Amy Baker, Sharon Ellison, and Kristin Brunk (2015)
Caitlin Bowman and Alix Pedraza-Larrotta (2014)