We used a modified fish trap called a “single strip Dutch sleeve” to capture small rails in Spain. During 94 trap-days, we captured 29 individual Water Rails (Rallus aquaticus), three Spotted Crakes (Porzana porzana), and nine Common Moorhens (Gallinula chloropus). Use of bait such as fruits, vegetables, or cat food increased capture rate by 93%, whereas inclement weather (heavy rain or wind) decreased capture rate. We had greater rates of capture and recapture compared to other studies using different methods. Advantages include ease of transport and placement, low injury rates to birds, the possibility of simultaneous captures, and a wide spectrum of target species. As improvements, we propose the use of playback rail vocalizations to increase capture of individuals and species, and the use of rigid, inaccessible receptacles to protect captured rails from predators.
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Vol. 73 • No. 2