Family Rails, Gallinules, Coots (Rallidae)

Least Concern

Black-tailed Native-hen (Tribonyx ventralis)


French: Gallinule aborigène German: Rotfuß-Pfuhlhuhn Spanish: Gallineta patirroja

Gallinula ventralis


, 1837,

Swan River, West Australia


Proposed races territorii (from Northern Territory) and whitei (from New South Wales) considered insufficiently distinctive to warrant recognition. Monotypic.


Australia (mostly inland).

Descriptive notes

30–38 cm; male 250–530 (412) g, female 322–405 (364) g; wingspan 55–66 cm. Large, thickset rail with vertically fanned black tail, black undertail-... read more


Virtually unknown. Usually silent, but both sexes have sharp “kak” of alarm and rapid, harsh,... read more


Opportunistic, especially during influxes. Normally occurs in low rainfall areas at permanent or... read more

Food and feeding

Takes seeds, plant material and invertebrates (especially insects). Plant food includes grain, seeds of Polygonum, Triticum... read more


E & S Australia, usually Aug–Dec, but timing influenced by rainfall, especially after drought, when may breed any month; in SW,... read more


May make regular seasonal movements: reported as regular visitor in extreme SW, and reporting rates... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally widespread inland S of 20° S and W of Great Dividing Range, with scattered records from coastal and sub-coastal regions... read more

Recommended citation

Taylor, B. (2019). Black-tailed Native-hen (Tribonyx ventralis). 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 11 December 2019).