Family Rails, Gallinules, Coots (Rallidae)

Least Concern

Tasmanian Native-hen (Tribonyx mortierii)


French: Gallinule de Tasmanie German: Grünfuß-Pfuhlhuhn Spanish: Gallineta de Tasmania

Tribonyx mortierii

Du Bus de Gisignies

, 1840,






Introduced to Maria I (off E Tasmania).

Descriptive notes

42–51 cm; male (mean) 1334 g, female (mean) 1251 g. Large, thickset, flightless rail, rather bantam-like, with long, narrow tail, and stout bill and legs; conspicuous,... read more


Characteristic aggressive call of pairs is loud, rasping, antiphonal “see-saw”. Also... read more


Open pasture, grassland, crops (newly sown cereals or legumes) and other cleared land round... read more

Food and feeding

Mostly seeds and leaves of: Poaceae, Cyperaceae, Restionaceae, Juncaceae, Polygonaceae, Portulaceae, Caryophyllaceae, Brassicaceae,... read more


Jul–Jan, usually Aug–Nov; determined by rainfall, as dependent on fresh young plant growth. Monogamous or polygamous, usually... read more


Sedentary, but some groups recorded as disappearing in summer. Many young disperse from natal area... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Distribution has not changed substantially in recent past, although has expanded into newly opened land. Introduced to Maria I in... read more

Recommended citation

Taylor, B. (2020). Tasmanian Native-hen (Tribonyx mortierii). 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 25 February 2020).