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Galapagos Rail Laterallus spilonota

  • Order: Gruiformes
  • Family: Rallidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Evan Hill

Sounds and Vocal Behavior


Galapagos Rail gives a wide range of vocalizations, which generally fall into one of five categories as described by Franklin et al. (1979): cheeping, a chichichichiroo call, a chirr call, a chatter call, and a rattle call. The cheeping call is used to maintain contact between adults and fledglings. The chichichichiroo call is a territorial advertisement that may begin with several harsh chuhchuhchuh syllables followed by several rapid chichichi syllables sharing the same pitch and ends with a quick, falling slur rrrooo. This call carries over several hundred meters and is somewhat similar to the song of Black Rail (Laterallus jamaicensis). A chirr call may be heard as a short descending trill followed by one or two chah or tah syllables. The chatter call is a low, wheezing chatter sound that begins slow and may be followed by a coarse, rapid rattle call. Galapagos Rail also may give a hissing sound, presumably to intimidate predators.

There are few available audio recordings of vocalizations of Galapagos Rail; audio recordings can be heard at Macaulay Library and at xeno-canto.

Nonvocal Sounds

Galapagos Rail does not produce nonvocal sounds.

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.