Gallirallus poecilopterus

Bar-winged Rail
(Gallirallus poecilopterus)

syn. Eulabeornis poecilopterus, Nesoclopeus poeciloptera, Nesoclopeus poecilopterus, Rallina poecilopterus, Rallus poecilopterus


Fiji: Ovalau (?), Taveuni (?), Viti Levu

local name:

Saca (Fijian)

size: 33 - 35,5 cm

extinction date: last seen in 1890 (unconfirmed sighting in 1973)

The Bar-winged Rail is said to have been flightless, but as it seems to have been found on several islands, it must have been able to some sort of week flight.

Introduced feral cats and, above all, mongooses from India (Herpestes javanicus) are said to be the main reasons for the extinction of this species.

In the year 1973 the ornithologist D. T. Holyoak, who worked on intensive field studies on Fiji's main island Viti Levu, made the last sighting of a living Bar-winged Rail, but this sighting must be counted as unconfirmed because no irrefragable evidence exists.


In inserting this species into the genus Gallirallus I follow David W. Steadman's test results, according to which the two genera Gallirallus and Nesoclopeus cannot be seperated, neither osteological nor at the molecular level.


Bar-winged Rail (Gallirallus poecilopterus)


egg of the species

Depictions from 'Beitrag zur Fauna Centralpolynesiens. Ornithologie der Viti-, Samoa- und Tonga-Inseln; von O. Finsch und G. Hartlaub. Mit 14 nach der Natur lithographirten und colorirten Kupfertafeln. Halle, H. W. Schmidt, 1867.'


- Martyn L. Gorman: The diet of feral Herpestes auropunctatus (Carnivora: Viverridae) in the Fijian Islands. J. Zool., 175, 273–278 (1975)
- D. T. Holyoak: Notes on the birds of Viti Levu and Taveuni, Fiji. Emu 79(1) 7-18 (1979)
- Dieter Luther: Die ausgestorbenen Vögel der Welt. Westarp Wissenschaften 1986
- H. Douglas Pratt, Phillip L. Bruner, Delwyn G. Berrett: A Field Guide to the Birds of Hawaii and the Tropical Pacific. Princeton University Press 1987
- Barry Taylor, Ber van Perlo: Rails: A Guide to the Rails, Crakes, Gallinules and Coots of the World. Yale University Press 1998
- Craig G. Morley: Has the invasive mongoose Herpestes javanicus yet reached the island of Taveuni, Fiji?. Oryx 38:4; 457-460. 2004
- David W. Steadman: Extinction and Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds. University Of Chicago Press 2006