Family Rails, Gallinules, Coots (Rallidae)


Swinhoe's Rail (Coturnicops exquisitus)


French: Râle de Swinhoe German: Mandschurenralle Spanish: Polluela exquisita
Other common names: Swinhoe's Crake

Porzana exquisita


, 1873,

Yantai (Chefoo), Shandong, China


Closely related to, and sometimes considered conspecific with, C. noveboracensis. Taxa clearly close, with present species differing from noveboracensis by its smaller size and relatively smaller, shallower-based bill (at least 1); barely contrasting rufous-brown vs broad tan-buff lateral stripes on upperparts and supercilium (3); delicate narrow white-and-buff-brown barring vs plain tan or dark-barred tan on throat and breast (2); whitish or brown-and-white vs blackish thighs and vent area (at least 1).Monotypic.


E Russia (SE Transbaikalia and S Ussuriland) and NE China (E Heilongjiang). Winters from Japan and Korea through Ryukyu Is to SE China.

Descriptive notes

13 cm. Sexes alike. Differs from markedly larger C. noveboracensis by greyer face, with close dark speckling and less distinct stripe through eye; feather edges of... read more


Has been presumed similar to that of C. noveboracensis and described as a “range of... read more


Breeds in wet meadows and short grass marshes; habitat probably similar to that of C.... read more

Food and feeding

Nothing recorded: presumably similar to C. noveboracensis.


Little information available. On breeding territory in Russia Apr–Sept. Two nests in Russia contained clutches of three and four eggs... read more


Migratory, wintering S to SE China (Fujian and Guangdong); rare migrant and winter visitor to Japan... read more

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Little-known, secretive and appears to be genuinely rare and declining. Known from only a few breeding localities. Regarded as scarce to very rare wherever it... read more

Recommended citation

Taylor, B. & Sharpe, C.J. (2019). Swinhoe's Rail (Coturnicops exquisitus). 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 15 December 2019).