The populations that make up Mangrove Rail formerly were classified as subspecies of Clapper Rail (Rallus crepitans), but a phylogenetic analsysis of all populations of the Clapper/King (Rallus elegans) rail complex revealed that Mangrove and Clapper Rails are separate species. As the English name implies, Mangrove Rail primarily occupies mangroves. This species has a discontinuous distribution: there is population, only recently discovered, on the Pacific coast of Central America (El Salvador to northwestern Costa Rica); another population occurs on the Pacific coast of South America, from southern Colombia to extreme northwestern Peru; and it occurs along the Atlantic Coast of South America, from northeastern Colombia to eastern Brazil, south to Santa Catarina. The natural history of Mangrove Rail presumably is similar in many ways to that of Clapper Rail, but Mangrove Rail has been much less studied. At least locally, its diet consists largely of fiddler crabs. The nest of Mangrove Rail is made of twigs and is placed, appropriately enough, among mangrove roots, very close to the water.