Family Rails, Gallinules, Coots (Rallidae)

Least Concern

Bare-eyed Rail (Gymnocrex plumbeiventris)


French: Râle à ventre gris German: Rostschwingenralle Spanish: Cotara moluqueña

Rallus plumbeiventris

G. R. Gray

, 1862,

Misool Island, off north-west New Guinea


Validity of races questionable. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • G. p. plumbeiventris (G. R. Gray, 1862) – N Moluccas, W Papuan Is (including Misool), New Guinea (except S), including Karkar I, and New Ireland (Bismarck Archipelago).
  • G. p. hoeveni (von Rosenberg, 1866) – Aru Is and S New Guinea (Setekwa R to Fly R).
  • Descriptive notes

    30–33 cm; estimated 300 g. Bare orbital skin pink; eyering is salmon or reddish; long bill; axillaries and underwing-coverts barred greyish black and white; much... read more


    Loud gulping “wow-wow-wow-wow”, only heard at start of wet season and probably a territorial call.... read more


    Floor of primary forest; also marshy forests, swamps and wet grassy areas near rivers and lakes.... read more

    Food and feeding

    Eats insects; probably also a variety of other small animals. Seen to attack a Common Paradise-kingfisher (Tanysiptera galatea)... read more


    Misool, Nov; Karkar, Feb; breeds in wet season. Territorial, at least when breeding; occurs in pairs or family parties. In Sepik region,... read more


    Sedentary; locally nomadic in New Guinea. In Port Moresby area mostly seen Dec–May, but... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Very little information available, but species is apparently not uncommon throughout its sizeable range, though very shy and... read more

    Recommended citation

    Taylor, B. (2020). Bare-eyed Rail (Gymnocrex plumbeiventris). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 28 February 2020).