Family Rails, Gallinules, Coots (Rallidae)

Least Concern

Speckled Rail (Coturnicops notatus)


French: Râle étoilé German: Darwinralle Spanish: Polluela de Darwin
Other common names: Speckled Crake

Zapornia notata


, 1841,

Rio de la Plata, Uruguay


Described race duncani (from Guyana) considered invalid. Monotypic.


S Brazil to Uruguay, Paraguay and N Argentina; also S Colombia, W Venezuela, Guyana and N Bolivia; status uncertain in much of apparent range, e.g. probably breeds in province of Córdoba, in Argentina.

Descriptive notes

13–14 cm; unsexed 30g. Sexes alike. White on secondaries distinguishes from all sympatric rallids. Laterallus jamai­censis is similar in size and overall... read more


Vocalizations unobtrusive; easily masked by other marsh sounds. Has “kooweee-cack” call, first... read more


Grassy savanna, dense marshy vegetation, swamps, rice and alfalfa fields; also crop stubble and... read more

Food and feeding

One stomach contained 80% small grass seeds, 15% arthropod remains and 5% fine gravel.


Uruguay, brood of 3 young in Dec, in wheat stubble; Venezuela, breeding condition Aug; Brazil, breeding condition Dec.


Speculated to undertake migrations between N & S South America, but unlikely in view of... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Occurs over very large area but records very sparse, with few in any country, and species normally described as very rare. However,... read more

Recommended citation

Taylor, B. (2019). Speckled Rail (Coturnicops notatus). 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).