Whole-cell patch clamp recordings were obtained during motor activity from electrically identified motoneurons within the spinal cord of the chick embryo maintained in vitro. Most recordings were performed on E11-E13 motoneurons although it was also possible to record from younger cells (E7-E9). Voltage clamp recordings were used to characterize the synaptic currents expressed in femoro-tibialis (extensor) motoneurons during motor activity. These motoneurons exhibited rhythmic excitatory currents with reversal potentials near 0 mV. This powerful technique enables high resolution recordings from identified motoneurons in situ and allows investigation of the membrane and synaptic mechanisms involved in the development of embryonic motility.