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Galapagos rail

Galapagos rail on Santiago island
© Michael Dvorak

Common name:

Galapagos rail

Scientific name:

Laterallus spilonota

Spanish name:


Conservation status:



Average size:

15 centimetres

Maximum size:

16 centimetres

Average weight:

39 grams

Maximum weight:

45 grams


The Galapagos rail, also known as the Galapagos crake, is a small, secretive yet tame ground-living bird endemic to the Islands. It is a poor flier and has only been recorded flying distances of just a few metres, making it extremely vulnerable to introduced species such as cats and rats. 

Its population is also threatened by habitat destruction as a result of introduced cattle and goats. Encouragingly, once these species are removed, and native vegetation is allowed to recover, Galapagos rails are quick to recolonise. Native vegetation provides the perfect environment for attracting their favourite foods, invertebrates, and they can often be seen tossing leaf litter to unearth a variety of insects, as well as seeds.

Galapagos rails in Galapagos

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Read more about Galapagos rails...

29th Sep 2021
Botany Genetics

Of rails and daisies

Although the Galapagos rail is a species that is out of sight from most residents and visitors, human activity in the Islands has had an indirect impact on these birds.
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