Justification of Red List Category
This species is listed as Vulnerable because its population is small and undergoing a continuing decline owing to the accelerating destruction and modification of its wetland habitats. The population is suspected to undergo a moderately fast future decline.
The species's population is estimated to number 2,500-10,000 individuals (F. Hawkins in litt. 2002 to Wetlands International 2002). This roughly equates to 1,600-6,700 mature individuals.
This species's population is inferred to be declining due to ongoing habitat loss owing to transformation of its aquatic and wet forest habitats by agricultural and logging activities (Kull 2012). The likely rate of future decline is suspected to fall in the 30-49% band.
Rallus madagascariensis occupies suitable habitat up to 1,800 m in eastern Madagascar where it is generally rare but locally not uncommon (Langrand 1990, Morris and Hawkins 1998, Safford 2013). Its population is estimated to number 2,500-10,000 total individuals.
Behaviour No evidence has been found to support the suggestion that this is a migratory species (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Taylor and van Perlo 1998). It is a secretive bird, usually found alone or in pairs (Langrand 1990). It mainly breeds during the months of August-October (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Habitat This species inhabits dense aquatic vegetation of marshes, wet woodlands and river margins (Langrand 1990, del Hoyo et al. 1996, Taylor and van Perlo 1998), from sea level to 1,800 m (Langrand 1990) but more frequently at high altitudes (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It prefers areas in which the vegetation is dominated by long grasses, reeds and sedges (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Diet it feeds mainly on invertebrates in muddy substrates (Langrand 1990, del Hoyo et al. 1996, Taylor and van Perlo 1998). Breeding site It nests on the ground in thick aquatic vegetation (Langrand 1990, Morris and Hawkins 1998). The nest is undescribed (Taylor and van Perlo 1998).
Habitat loss is the principal threat (Morris and Hawkins 1998); its aquatic and wet forest habitats are rapidly being transformed by agricultural and logging activities (del Hoyo et al. 1996; Kull 2012; D'Urban Jackson et al. 2019).
Conservation Actions Underway
It is found in several protected areas (ZICOMA 1999). No species-specific conservation action is yet in place.
25 cm. Medium-sized plain brown rail. Rather nondescript plumage (mostly plain brown with some streaks on the upperparts and upper breast) but does show greyish face and throat and white undertail. Bill red, legs dark. Similar spp. Distinguished from similarly sized sympatric Rallidae by long, slender bill, lack of white in throat, unbarred flanks and upperpart colouration.
Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Ekstrom, J., Khwaja, N., Symes, A., Taylor, J. & Westrip, J.R.S.
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Rallus madagascariensis. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 03/02/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 03/02/2023.