This rail had essentially been lost to science. After 1958 there were no more records of it from either Chile or Argentina and some contemplated the species had gone extinct. It was rediscovered in 1998 and its voice was recorded. Playback has allowed the Austral Rail to be located in various places ranging from Magallanes, Chile to the Valdez Peninsula in Chubut, Argentina. Historically the species was known from locations as far north as Santiago in Chile, and Buenos Aires in Argentina but it has not been re-found that far north. Two nests found in Magallanes, Chile and egg measurements suggest that some of the historical nests known of this species were misidentifications. The Austral Rail is only found in marshes with an abundance of Scirpus californicus, specifically those where there is a canopy of dead stalks from the previous growing season. It is unknown if the rail remains in winter in these sites or if it is migratory, and nothing is known about predation and how stable the newly found populations are. It is listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN.