Galapagos Rail Laterallus spilonota

  • Order: Gruiformes
  • Family: Rallidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Evan Hill
  • © George Armistead

Also known as Darwin’s Rail, Galapagos Rail (Laterallus spilonotus) is endemic to the Galapagos Islands (BirdLife International 2012). Galapagos Rail occurs on the islands Fernandina, Floreana, Isabela, Pinta, Santa Cruz, Santiago, and San Cristobal (Franklin et al. 1979, BirdLife International 2012). Preferring the dense moist-zone vegetation found in the highland regions of these islands, Galapagos Rail is a diminutive, diurnal insectivore (Franklin et al. 1979). Galapagos Rail populations have suffered from the introduction of grazing ungulates that reduce the area of preferred habitat (Weber 1971, Franklin et al. 1979). Extermination of invasive goats (Capra) on Pinta Island resulted in an increase in Galapagos Rail populations on that island (Weber 1971, Franklin et at. 1979). Galapagos Rail form monogamous pairs during the breeding season and defend a territory from conspecifics (Franklin et al. 1979). The partially covered cup nest is constructed on the forest floor of grasses and forbaceous vegetation (Franklin et al. 1979). Parents share incubation duties, with incubation lasting 23-25 days (Franklin et al. 1979). Listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List, the present population of Galapagos Rail is estimated to be between 5000 and 10,000 individuals across the islands (Rosenberg 1990, BirdLife International 2012).


© Arnoud van den Berg

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Hill, E. (2013). Galapagos Rail (Laterallus spilonota), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.