Inaccessible Island Rail


Inaccessible Island Rail

Taxobox
name = Inaccessible Island Rail


status = VU | status_system = IUCN3.1
trend = stable
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Aves
ordo = Gruiformes
familia = Rallidae
genus = "Atlantisia"
genus_authority = Lowe, 1923
species = "A. rogersi"
binomial = "Atlantisia rogersi"
binomial_authority = Lowe, 1923

The Inaccessible Island Rail, "Atlantisia rogersi", is a small bird of the rail family, Rallidae. It is found only on Inaccessible Island in the Tristan Archipelago, and is notable for being the smallest extant flightless bird in the world. Unlike many other islands, Inaccessible Island has remained free from introduced predators, allowing this species to flourish while many other flightless birds, including the even smaller Stephens Island Wren, have perished.

This rail has an average weight of 30 grams and a length of 17 centimeters. It is dark rusty-brown above and dark grey below, with a short black bill and a red eye.

This rail is found throughout Inaccessible Island, but prefers grassland and open fern-bush. Its diet includes earthworms, moths, berries, and seeds.

A clutch of two eggs is laid between October and January; chicks are vulnerable to predation by the Tristan Thrush.

The Ascension Flightless Rail ("Mundia elpenor") which disappeared some time before 1700 but was briefly mentioned and described by traveller and hobby naturalist Peter Mundy in 1656 and "Aphanocrex podarces", the St Helena Swamphen which disappeared before 1600 and has never been encountered by scientists were once considered congeners of "A. rogersi". As they are considered to have evolved independently (with "A. podarces" probably not even being closely related), they have each been moved to a separate genusFact|date=September 2007. Both species became extinct due to predation by introduced species, mainly cats and rats.

References

* Database entry includes justification for why this species is vulnerable

External links

* [http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/ebas/index.html?action=SpcHTMDetails.asp&sid=2881&m=0 BirdLife Species Factsheet.]
* [http://www.bird-stamps.org/species/43037.htm Pictures of Tristan da Cunha stamps showing the Inaccessible Island Rail]


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