Family Rails, Gallinules, Coots (Rallidae)


Galapagos Rail (Laterallus spilonota)


French: Râle des Galapagos German: Galapagosralle Spanish: Polluela de Galápagos
Other common names: Galapagos Crake

Zapornia spilonota


, 1841,

Santiago (James) Island, Galapagos


Sometimes considered a race of L. jamaicensis, of which it is an insular derivative. Monotypic.


Galapagos Is, occurring on Pinta, Fernandina, Isabela, Santiago, Santa Cruz, Floreana and San Cristóbal.

Descriptive notes

15·5 cm; 35–45g (no precise data). Sexes similar but female sometimes has paler throat. Very similar in plumage to L. jamaicensis, with blackish face,... read more


Vocal repertoire extensive, including cackles, clucks, warbles, trills and hisses. Territorial... read more


Historically recorded from 2 habitat types: coastal mangroves, from which no longer known, and in... read more

Food and feeding

Primarily invertebrates: snails, Isopoda, Amphipoda, spiders, dragonflies, moths, Hemiptera, ants and caterpillars; also some seeds. Feeds... read more


Breeds Sept–Apr, from middle of cool season to end of hot season. Monogamous and territorial. Nest a deep, semi-domed cup with side... read more



Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Previously considered Near Threatened. Now known only from islands high enough to have an extensive moist region. In late 1970s species was considered still... read more

Recommended citation

Taylor, B., de Juana, E. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). Galapagos Rail (Laterallus spilonota). 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 3 April 2020).