Family Rails, Gallinules, Coots (Rallidae)


Madagascar Rail (Rallus madagascariensis)


French: Râle de Madagascar German: Madagaskarralle Spanish: Rascón malgache
Other common names: Madagascar Water Rail

Rallus Madagascariensis

J. P. Verreaux

, 1833,



Closely related to R. aquaticus, R. indicus and R. caerulescens. Monotypic.


E Madagascar.

Descriptive notes

25 cm; 1 male 148 g. Sexes alike. Distinguished from other medium-sized Madagascar rails by long, slender, decurved bill, lack of white on throat, unbarred flanks, and olive... read more


Sharp “tsi-ka” when flushed; also “kik-kik”. Calls frequently during day,... read more


Small to large marshes with dense long grass, reeds and sedges; river margins; grassland at forest... read more

Food and feeding

Only invertebrates recorded. Moves about slowly in dense aquatic vegetation, searching for food and probing mud with long bill.


Very poorly known. Lays Aug–Oct. Nest not described; built on ground in aquatic vegetation. No data on clutch size or downy young.


Suggested to be possibly migratory, but no evidence found.

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Becoming rare throughout range as result of pressure on natural habitats in E half of Madagascar, to which species is confined and where it was formerly (1929... read more

Recommended citation

Taylor, B. & de Juana, E. (2020). Madagascar Rail (Rallus madagascariensis). 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 30 March 2020).