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Rallidae – Rails, Gallinules, and Allies

White-throated Rail in Madagascar: Photo by Eric Barnes

Welcome to our comprehensive guide to the family, Rallidae, a diverse and intriguing group of birds that spans a wide range of sizes and habitats. From the diminutive black rails resembling tiny mice to the majestic purple Takahe, these birds exhibit remarkable diversity in both morphology and ecology. While most Rallidae species are secretive inhabitants of reeds, some, like the gallinules and coots, lead more open lifestyles akin to ducks, showcasing their social behavior for all to see. Despite their shy nature, many Rallidae species are migratory, and they have successfully colonized islands across the globe. Flightlessness has evolved independently multiple times within this family, resulting in unique and endemic species that once populated Pacific islands, although sadly, many of them are now extinct. Join us as we explore the fascinating world of Rallidae and learn about their behaviors, habitats, and conservation status.