Family Rails, Gallinules, Coots (Rallidae)


Bogota Rail (Rallus semiplumbeus)


French: Râle de Bogota German: Bogotáralle Spanish: Rascón de Bogotá
Other common names: Peruvian Rail (peruvianus)

Rallus semiplumbeus

P. L. Sclater

, 1856,

Bogotá, Colombia


Thought to be closely related to R. limicola and R. antarcticus; sometimes considered conspecific with latter, which differs, however, in its smaller size, involving a somewhat shorter bill, notably shorter wings and tarsi and strikingly shorter middle toe (at least 2); much brighter buff streaking above (2); bolder, more extensive and more regular black-and-white barring on flanks (2); darker lores to ear-coverts (ns 1); tail black with strong buff edges vs black (2). Race peruvianus, known only from type specimen, may merit specific status. Two subspecies normally recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • R. s. semiplumbeus P. L. Sclater, 1856 – E Andes of Colombia.
  • R. s. peruvianus Taczanowski, 1886 – locality unknown: possibly Peru (probably extinct).
  • Unconfirmed record from Ecuador (Laguna Kingora, Sigsig).

    Descriptive notes

    25–30 cm. Sexes alike. Plumbeous grey head, breast and upper belly separate from structurally similar R. limicola; irregular white barring on flanks tinged... read more


    Variety of squeaks, grunts, and whistling and piping notes, usually starting low, growing in... read more


    Restricted to the savanna and páramo marshes of temperate zone of E Andes of... read more

    Food and feeding

    Primarily aquatic invertebrates and insect larvae, but also worms, molluscs, dead fish, frogs, tadpoles and plant material. Active from... read more


    Dependent juveniles Jul–Aug; these and other observations suggest breeding Jul–Sept; also empty nest Oct. Apparently monogamous... read more


    None recorded.

    Status and conservation

    ENDANGERED. Subspecies peruvianus only known from type specimen, collected in 1886, and now almost certainly extinct. Subspecies semiplumbeus common to... read more

    Recommended citation

    Taylor, B. & Sharpe, C.J. (2019). Bogota Rail (Rallus semiplumbeus). 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).