Family Rails, Gallinules, Coots (Rallidae)

Near Threatened

New Britain Rail (Hypotaenidia insignis)


French: Râle de Nouvelle-Bretagne German: Bartralle Spanish: Rascón de Nueva Bretaña
Other common names: Pink-legged Rail

Rallus insignis

P. L. Sclater

, 1880,

Kahabadai, New Britain


Sometimes placed in genus Rallus or Gallirallus; alternatively, in monospecific Habropteryx, although affinities are clearly with H. torquata. Also closely related to H. okinawae. Monotypic.


New Britain.

Descriptive notes

33 cm. Probably almost flightless, although some reports that it may fly well; tail very short and decomposed; some white barring on inner webs of primaries. Sexes alike.... read more


Loud, short calls, suggestive of dog or pig, uttered by day and night. Duetting birds call... read more


Heavy damp forests and mountain valleys; also swampy cane grass; wanders into gardens when foraging... read more

Food and feeding

Snails, insects (including beetles) and vegetable matter.


Social organization not known; commonly occurs in parties. Nests on the ground. No further information available.


None recorded.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. No recent assessment of status but regarded as locally common in 1980s. Snared and eaten by local people.... read more

Recommended citation

Taylor, B. (2019). New Britain Rail (Hypotaenidia insignis). 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).