The genus Rallus consists of wetland birds of the rail family that are closely related to each other.

Distribution / Range

Six of them occur in South America and three are found in Eurasia, Africa and Madagascar

They live in wet reedbeds and marshes with dense semi-aquatic vegetation.


These slim rails have long bills and slender legs.

With the exception of the African Rail which has a plain back, all other members have a streaked brown upper plumage.

The face and chest is blue-grey on the face or breast, and the flanks are barred on all except the Plain-flanked Rail, which lacks any blue-grey in its plumage and has no flank bars.

Baillons Crake


Living species

Extinct species

  • Ibiza Rail, Rallus eivissensis (prehistoric)
  • Rallus sp. (Sajóvölgyi Middle Miocene of Mátraszõlõs, Hungary)
  • Rallus lacustris (Late Pliocene of C North America)
  • Rallus phillipsi (Late Pliocene of Wickieup, USA)
  • Rallus prenticei (Late Pliocene of C North America) – formerly Gallinuloides
  • Rallus sp. (Rexroad Late Pliocene of Saw Rock Canyon, USA)
  • Rallus auffenbergi (Middle Pleistocene of SE North America) – formerly Porzana
  • Rallus ibycus (Shore Hills Late Pleistocene of Bermuda, W Atlantic)
  • Rallus recessus (St Georges Soil Late Pleistocene of Bermuda, W Atlantic)
  • Rallus natator (Pleistocene of San Josecito Cavern, Mexico) – formerly Epirallus
  • Rallus richondi – includes R. dubius
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