Laysan Rail Zapornia palmeri


Justification of Red List Category
This species was found in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, USA, but is now Extinct. The last population on Eastern Island was exterminated by introduced rats in 1944.

Population justification
No extant population remains.

Distribution and population

Zapornia palmeri was found on Laysan Island, Hawai'i, USA (Baldwin 1947), from where it became extinct between 1923 and 1936 (Taylor and van Perlo 1998). A similar bird was also seen by Kittlitz on nearby Lisianski Island (Baldwin 1947). Birds were introduced to Pearl and Hermes Reef and to Eastern Island in the Midway Atoll in 1891 and 1913, and from there to Sand Island in 1910, with failed re-introductions also reportedly attempted to Lisianski, Laysan and to the main Hawaiian group (Taylor and van Perlo 1998). However, it became extinct on Pearl and Hermes Reef in 1930, on Sand Island in 1943 and Eastern Island in 1944 (Baldwin 1945).


It inhabited grass tussocks and thickets.


It became extinct on Laysan Island as a result of habitat destruction by rabbits and guinea pigs introduced by guano diggers (Taylor and van Perlo 1998). The Pearl and Hermes Reef colony was destroyed by storms; and rats, brought in by wartime activities, exterminated both the Sand Island colony and the Eastern Island colony (Baldwin 1945).


Text account compilers
Brooks, T., Khwaja, N. & Mahood, S.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Zapornia palmeri. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 14/07/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 14/07/2020.