Blog Archive: Rails

Birdorable South Island Takahe

2017 Bonanza Bird #8: South Island Takahē

December 1st, 2017 in Birdorable Bonanza 2017, Rails No comments
Birdorable South Island Takahē“

Take a look at this beauty! Today a colorful New Zealand rail joins Birdorable! Introducing our South Island Takahe!

The South Island Takahē is a large flightless species of rail that was once thought to be extinct. A similar species, the North Island Takahe, is only known from skeletal remains.

South Island Takahes are endemic to New Zealand and are managed and protected to ensure the survival of the species.

Once a bird of wetlands and swamps, the South Island Takahe is now a species of alpine grasslands. This move is due to the impact humans have had on the landscape of the South Island -- swamps have been drained and turned into farmland, forcing the takahe to move. They are altitudinal migrants, heading down from the higher alpine habitat when snow covers the land.

Tomorrow a pelagic species joins Birdorable. Can you guess the species from the silhouette alone?

Birdorable Purple Gallinule

2016 Bonanza Bird #10: Purple Gallinule

December 4th, 2016 in Birdorable Bonanza 2016, Rails 2 comments
Birdorable Purple Gallinule

Our special 10th anniversary 10 species Birdorable Bonanza concludes today with the Purple Gallinule!

The Purple Gallinule is a duck-like species in the rail family. They are native to the southeastern United States, much of Central America, and a wide range within South America. They prefer wetland-type habitats like swamps, lakes, and marshes.

Purple Gallinules are omnivorous with a varied diet that includes both plant and animal material. They will feed on seeds, leaves, and fruit, as well as take prey items including spiders, worms, snails, and fish. They find food by swimming on the water's surface or by walking around on vegetation that is floating or at the shoreline.


Photo by Andy Morffew (CC BY 2.0)



Adult Purple Gallinules have a striking plumage and are easy to recognize. The underparts are purple-blue while the upperparts are iridescent green. The face is a palatte of colors including the yellow and red of the bill and the pale blue of the facial shield. The legs and oversized feet are bright yellow.

This concludes our 10th anniversary Birdorable Bonanza! Thank you for following along! We wish all of our followers all the best for a wonderful holiday season!

Birdorable Rufous-necked Wood-Rail

2013 Bonanza Bird #30: Rufous-necked Wood-Rail

July 30th, 2013 in Birdorable Bonanza 2013, Rails 7 comments

It looks like yesterday's bird, the Least Bittern, totally got photobombed by a Rufous-necked Wood-Rail! How often does that happen? Our 499th Birdorable species and second-to-last 2013 Bonanza bird is the Rufous-necked Wood Rail!

Rufous-necked Wood-rail

Rufous-necked Wood-Rails are usually found in coastal habitats in parts of Central and South America. However, one day earlier this month, birder Matt Daw had an interesting experience while making a video of a Least Bittern at a National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Have a look at the photobombing wood-rail that sent the birding world into a frenzy:


Rufous-necked Wood-Rail, Bosque del Apache NWR by Matt Daw

News of Daw's rare sighting spread like wildfire among the birding community and visitors came from all over the United States to see the wood-rail. American Birding Association president Jeffrey Gordon recorded an interview with Matt Daw which you can see here: Interview with Matt Daw, finder of the New Mexico Rufous-necked Wood-Rail. And the famous sighting also got coverage on a recent episode of CBS This Morning.

Rufous-necked Wood-Rail merchandise

Tomorrow our 2013 Bonanza will conclude with Birdorable species #500. This once-abundant species will have an important but sad anniversary next year. Join us tomorrow as we reveal our 500th cute Birdorable cartoon bird!

bonanza-2013-preview-31
Birdorable Corn Crake

A Real Loudbeak

November 29th, 2012 in Rails, New Birds 3 comments

The Corn Crake is a migratory species of rail that breeds across temperate parts of Eurasia and winters in southern Africa. When they return to their breeding grounds in the spring, male Corn Crakes call out to establish territory and to attract a mate. The call sounds like this:

This may not be the most melodious song, but it is remarkable due to the fact that it can be heard from up to a mile away and repeated more than 20,000 times a night! That's a lot of sound coming from an 11-inch tall bird. The Corn Crake (also known as Corncrake) was added to Birdorable on August 21, 2012. If you love these little loudmouths -- er, loudbeaks -- be sure to check out our collection of cute Corn Crake t-shirts and gifts!

Birdorable Common Moorhen

Bonanza Bird #14: Common Moorhen

December 1st, 2011 in Rails, Birdorable Bonanza 2011 4 comments
Birdorable Common Moorhen

For 19 days we're adding a new Birdorable bird every day as part of our Birdorable Bonanza 2011. We're counting up to revealing our 350th species! Today's bird is the Common Moorhen.

Common Moorhen photo

The Common Moorhen is a species of rail that has a wide range. They live across parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa. The similar North American Common Gallinule was recently split from the Common Moorhen. Common Moorhens have dark, chubby bodies supported by yellow legs and relatively enormous feet. They have a prominent red facial shield as well.

Birdorable Moorhen Product Samples

Tomorrow's bird can be easily recognized from the black line under its chin. Can you guess what it will be?

Birdorable Bonanza Preview
Birdorable Lord Howe Woodhen

12 Days of Birdorable: Ten Lord Howe Woodhens-a-leaping

December 10th, 2010 in Holidays, Rails, 12 Days of Birdorable No comments

On the tenth day of Birdorable, my true love gave to me… 9 Lord Howe Woodhens! Our 12 Days of Birdorable continues today with yet another brand new bird species, the endangered, unique Lord Howe Woodhen.

Nine Lady Amherst's Pheasants

The line Ten Lords-a-leaping in the song “The 12 Days of Christmas” of course refers to jumping men (a nice follow-up to the previous day's dancing ladies!). Here on Birdorable, a bird with a royal name substitutes for the leaping lords: the Lord Howe Woodhen. The bird, a member of the rail family, is endemic to Lord Howe Island, which lies off of Australia.

This is the tenth day of our 12 Days of Birdorable holiday event. Previously featured were: