Family Rails, Gallinules, Coots (Rallidae)

Least Concern

Blackish Rail (Pardirallus nigricans)


French: Râle noirâtre German: Trauerralle Spanish: Rascón negruzco

Rallus nigricans


, 1819,



Sometimes placed in Rallus, or, with P. sanguinolentus, referred to genus Ortygonax. In the past, sometimes regarded as conspecific with P. sanguinolentus. Proposed race humilis is a synonym of nominate. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. n. caucae (Conover, 1949) – SW Colombia (Cauca Valley S to Nariño).
  • P. n. nigricans (Vieillot, 1819) – E Ecuador, E Peru, N Bolivia, W, SC & E Brazil, Paraguay and extreme NE Argentina.
  • Reported (race unknown) from W Venezuela (SW Zulia) in 1981#R.

    Descriptive notes

    27–29 cm; 1 male 217g. Sexes alike. Closely resembles partially sympatric R. sanguinolentus, which differs in being larger and having grey chin and throat,... read more


    Descriptions include: very fast, metallic “tii'd'dit”; complaining “... read more


    Marshes, vegetation-choked waterways, flooded rice fields, tall damp grass, and swampy, lightly... read more

    Food and feeding

    No information on food; presumably feeds on insects and other invertebrates. Occasionally forages in the open: on muddy shores with other... read more


    Brazil, male with somewhat enlarged testes, Jul. Nest of aquatic grasses, placed on or near the ground in tall damp grass. Possible nest of... read more


    None recorded, but a stray record from Junín, NC Peru, at 4080m.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Past and present status difficult to assess, as species usually secretive and difficult to observe, but both races generally regarded... read more

    Recommended citation

    Taylor, B. (2019). Blackish Rail (Pardirallus nigricans). 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 13 December 2019).