Hawkins's Rail Diaphorapteryx hawkinsi


Justification of Red List Category
This species was known from the Chatham Islands, New Zealand, but is now Extinct as a result of hunting. It is thought to have persisted until at least 1895, when it was described in a letter.

Population justification
No extant population remains.

Distribution and population

Diaphorapteryx hawkinsi was endemic to the Chatham Islands, New Zealand, where its remains have been found on the main Chatham Island and Pitt Island. Recent evidence, including a letter from Sigvard Jacob Dannefarerd to Lord Lionel Walter Rothschild in 1895 describing the species's appearance, behaviour and Moriori hunting method, suggests that this species survived into at least the late 1800s.


The species was flightless, stood approximately 40 cm tall and weighed an estimated 2 kg. It is thought to have been a ground-dwelling insectivore, also feeding on fern root and capable of preying on small ground-nesting species.


Its remains are frequently associated with middens of the islands' initial Polynesian inhabitants, the Moriori, indicating that hunting is likely to have caused its extinction.


Text account compilers
Harding, M., Khwaja, N. & Mahood, S.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Diaphorapteryx hawkinsi. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 12/12/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 12/12/2019.