Family Rails, Gallinules, Coots (Rallidae)

Least Concern

Chestnut Forest-rail (Rallicula rubra)


French: Râle marron German: Kastanienralle Spanish: Polluela castaña

Rallicula rubra


, 1871,

northern peninsula of New Guinea


Possible race subrubra (from L Habbema region of Snow Mts) merged with klossi because of overlapping measurements and lack of significant colour differences. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • R. r. rubra Schlegel, 1871 – Arfak Mts, in NW New Guinea (Vogelkop).
  • R. r. klossi Ogilvie-Grant, 1913 – WC New Guinea from Weyland Mts to Oranje Mts.
  • R. r. telefolminensis Gilliard, 1961 – C New Guinea in Victor Emanuel Mts and Hindenburg Mts and Tari Gap.
  • Descriptive notes

    18–23 cm; 3 male klossi 84–91 (87·7) g, 2 male telefolminensis 71 and 76 g. Smallest Rallina. Reddish chestnut plumage of male... read more


    Shrill, sharp “krill” or “keow”, often repeated many times; sometimes more... read more


    Inhabits floor of montane forest interior, at 1500–3050 m. At Tari Gap found in mossy mixed... read more

    Food and feeding

    No information available.


    Lays Oct–Nov, and either Aug or Sept, i.e. at end of period of highest rainfall. Apparently monogamous. Two adult males responded to... read more


    None recorded.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Widespread in Irian Jaya, where races rubra and klossi apparently abundant; race telefolminensis... read more

    Recommended citation

    Taylor, B. (2019). Chestnut Forest-rail (Rallicula rubra). 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 15 December 2019).