Family Rails, Gallinules, Coots (Rallidae)


Drummer Rail (Habroptila wallacii)


French: Râle de Wallace German: Trommelralle Spanish: Rascón de Wallace
Other common names: Invisible Rail

Habroptila wallacii

G. R. Gray

, 1861,



Sometimes placed in Rallus for no good reason, but probably derived from Amaurornis; believed to be close to Megacrex, which is its ecological counterpart in New Guinea. Monotypic.


Halmahera (N Moluccas); recently recorded on Obi, where status unclear#R.

Descriptive notes

35 cm. Sexes alike. Rather distinctive large, flightless rail of striking appearance, with very dark slate and dark brown plumage, and bright red bare parts including eye-... read more


Described as a low drumbeat interspersed with a loud scream.


Dense, impenetrable, swampy thickets, particularly areas of heavy sago swamp; also the edges of... read more

Food and feeding

Diet and feeding habits virtually unknown. Mainly young plant shoots and beetles recorded.


A nest found in Nov in Aketajawe Lolobata National Park was a shallow depression on top of a rotten stump of a ballnut tree (... read more


None recorded.

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Probably scarce; a report that it was locally common in grassland is believed to have resulted from confusion with the common Amaurornis moluccana. Only... read more

Recommended citation

Taylor, B. & de Juana, E. (2019). Drummer Rail (Habroptila wallacii). 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).