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Chatham Islands Rail Gallirallus modestus Scientific name definitions

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Version: 1.0 — Published March 4, 2020
Text last updated January 1, 2014

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Systematics History

Sometimes placed in genus Gallirallus or Rallus. Monotypic.


First discovered on Mangere in 1871, and 26 specimens collected there are known from museum collections. The last confirmed live individuals of this species were found in 1893. By 1895 it was extinct (1). Reasons for its demise on Mangere uncertain, but predation by rats and domestic cats (introduced in 1890s), destruction of habitat to provide sheep pasture (all of Mangere’s bush and tussock grass destroyed by 1900), and grazing by introduced goats and rabbits presumed to be main factors (2). Former presence on Chatham I and Pitt I known only from 19th-century bones.


Chatham Is (Chatham, Mangere and Pitt), E of New Zealand.

Distribution of the Chatham Islands Rail
  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding
Distribution of the Chatham Islands Rail

Recommended Citation

(2020). Chatham Islands Rail (Gallirallus modestus), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (J. del Hoyo, A. Elliott, J. Sargatal, D. A. Christie, and E. de Juana, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.