Family Rails, Gallinules, Coots (Rallidae)

Least Concern

Forbes's Forest-rail (Rallicula forbesi)


French: Râle de Forbes German: Nymphenralle Spanish: Polluela de Forbes
Other common names: Forbes's Rail

Rallicula forbesi


, 1887,

Owen Stanley Range, New Guinea


Closely related to R. leucospila and R. mayri. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • R. f. steini Rothschild, 1934 – C New Guinea from Weyland Mts E to Bismarck Mts.
  • R. f. parva T. K. Pratt, 1982 – Mt Mengam (Adelbert Range), in NE New Guinea.
  • R. f. dryas Mayr, 1931 – mountains of Huon Peninsula, in NE New Guinea.
  • R. f. forbesi Sharpe, 1887 – SE New Guinea from Herzog Mts to Owen Stanley Mts.
  • Descriptive notes

    20–25 cm; male 78–106 (88) g, female 65–96 g, 1 subadult female 81 g. Male distinguished from other mountain forest Rallina species by unpatterned... read more


    Utters a low, frog-like “quaaak”, slowly repeated; also a rapid “ko..ko..ko”, as well as other... read more


    Floor of primary mid-montane and montane forest at 1100–3200m. In areas of sympatry with ... read more

    Food and feeding

    Takes mostly insects; also some seeds. Usually seen in small parties; forages deliberately in dry leaves, calling quietly.


    Social and sexual behaviour unknown; roosting nests may contain pairs or 3–7 adults of both sexes. One roosting nest a domed... read more


    None recorded.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Not uncommon locally in E New Guinea but apparently scarce or rare in W half of range, where overlaps with R. rubra.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Taylor, B. & Sharpe, C.J. (2019). Forbes's Forest-rail (Rallicula forbesi). 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 14 November 2019).