Family Rails, Gallinules, Coots (Rallidae)

Least Concern

Chestnut Rail (Eulabeornis castaneoventris)


French: Râle à ventre roux German: Kastanienbauchralle Spanish: Cotara australiana
Other common names: Chestnut-bellied Rail

Eulabeornis castaneoventris


, 1844,

Flinders River, Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia


Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • E. c. sharpei Rothschild, 1906 – Aru Is.
  • E. c. castaneoventris Gould, 1844 – N coasts of Australia from N Western Australia (Kimberley) through Northern Territory to Gulf of Carpentaria.
  • Descriptive notes

    Male 52 cm, 626–910 (752) g; female 44–52 cm, 550–710 (628) g. Largest rallid in its habitat; thickset species with longish tail, long, heavy, greenish bill... read more


    Poorly known. Normal call a harsh screech, preceded by grunt and usually repeated c. 12 times;... read more


    Tropical estuaries, preferring mangrove forests, tidal channels and flats, especially seaward... read more

    Food and feeding

    Takes mainly crabs and other crustaceans; also small molluscs, insects and centipedes. Both diurnally and nocturnally active. Forages in... read more


    Very poorly known. Breeds Sept–Feb. Monogamous; territorial when breeding. Nest a large, loose platform of dead sticks, grass, leaves... read more


    Probably sedentary; no long distance movements recorded. When feeding, moves to higher ground as... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Patchily recorded, with several apparent gaps in distribution which may be due to incomplete coverage by observers; status uncertain... read more

    Recommended citation

    Taylor, B. (2019). Chestnut Rail (Eulabeornis castaneoventris). 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).