White-throated Rail Dryolimnas cuvieri


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be small, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 5,100-7,500 individuals, roughly equating to 3,400-5,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
The overall population trend is stable, although some populations have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2006).

Distribution and population

Dryolimnas cuvieri occurs on Madagascar and the Aldabra Islands, Seychelles (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The subspecies abbotti, known from the Seychelles island of Assumption, went extinct in the early 20th century (Taylor and van Perlo 1998). The species has also been extirpated from Mauritius (del Hoyo et al. 1996).


Behaviour This species is not migratratory (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It breeds during the rains in Madagascar or in December on Aldabra Island, nesting in solitary pairs and remaining solitary and territorial throughout the year (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Habitat It occupies a variety of habitats including forest with dense herbaceous ground cover (del Hoyo et al. 1996), woodland water courses (Langrand 1990, del Hoyo et al. 1996), stream edges with tall, dense, herbaceous vegetation (del Hoyo et al. 1996), mangroves, beaches or coral islets and wetlands (Langrand 1990, del Hoyo et al. 1996) (e.g. marshes with long grass, reeds and sedge (del Hoyo et al. 1996), and rice paddy-fields (Langrand 1990, del Hoyo et al. 1996)). The species also inhabits rough, heavily dissected coral limestone covered by dense scrub on Aldabra Island, and may forage on sand and pebble beaches (Taylor and van Perlo 1998) Diet Its diet consists of small molluscs (del Hoyo et al. 1996) (e.g. gastropods such as Melanoides spp. and Littorina spp.) (Taylor and van Perlo 1998), small ghost crabs (del Hoyo et al. 1996) (e.g. Ocypode cordimana) (Taylor and van Perlo 1998), insects (e.g. Diptera, Coleoptera, termites, ant eggs and larvae) (del Hoyo et al. 1996) and eggs and hatchlings of green turtles Cheldonia mydas (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species also associates with tortoises: taking tortoise droppings (in order to extract insects), picking insects from tortoise carapaces and taking insects from decaying tortoise carcasses (Taylor and van Perlo 1998). Breeding site The nest can be either a loose structure of twigs and leaves placed in a depression in a rock, or it can be a more substantial bowl placed on the ground in dense vegetation (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Taylor and van Perlo 1998). Management information The species was successfully reintroduced to Picard Island, an island free of domestic cats Felis catus near Aldabra atoll (Wnaless et al. 2002).


The species is threatened by accidental introductions of feral domestic cats Felis catus into otherwise suitable habitats (del Hoyo et al. 1996).


Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Malpas, L.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Dryolimnas cuvieri. Downloaded from on 02/04/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 02/04/2023.