Family Rails, Gallinules, Coots (Rallidae)

Least Concern

White-spotted Flufftail (Sarothrura pulchra)


French: Râle perlé German: Perlenralle Spanish: Polluela pulcra

Crex Pulchra

J. E. Gray

, 1829,

Sierra Leone


Subspecies batesi sometimes considered synonymous with either zenkeri or centralis. Birds of W Cameroon highlands formerly awarded race tibatiensis, but now reckoned to be synonymous with nominate; likewise, cinnamomea (from Gambia and Guinea) is regarded as a synonym of nominate. Four subspecies normally recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. p. pulchra (J. E. Gray, 1829) – Gambia and S Senegal E to SW Benin#R#R, Nigeria (except extreme SE) and N & C Cameroon; possibly SW Niger#R#R.
  • S. p. zenkeri Neumann, 1908 – extreme SE Nigeria, coastal Cameroon and Gabon.
  • S. p. batesi Bannerman, 1922 – interior S Cameroon.
  • S. p. centralis Neumann, 1908 – Congo and N Angola E through DRCongo to extreme S South Sudan, W Kenya, extreme NW Tanzania and extreme NW Zambia.
  • Descriptive notes

    16–17 cm; male 39–53·2 (45·2) g, female 41–50·6 (45·4) g. Tail short, not noticeably fluffy. In male, white-spotted black... read more


    Vocal repertoire extensive. Characteristic call of male, given all year but most frequently during... read more


    Mainly lowland rainforest, usually in association with water, e.g. forest swamps, streams and pools... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet consists chiefly of invertebrates: earthworms, nematodes, small leeches, small gastropods, myriapods, spiders and many insects,... read more


    Seasons poorly known: in most areas breeds during rains, probably more seasonally in S areas with a marked rainy season, but in W Kenya... read more


    Normally entirely sedentary and permanently territorial, but there is some evidence for local... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common to locally abundant over most of range. In W Kenya distribution along streams essentially linear, one pair per 100–130 m... read more

    Recommended citation

    Taylor, B. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). White-spotted Flufftail (Sarothrura pulchra). 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 19 January 2020).