Tahitian Red-billed Rail

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Tahitian Red-billed Rail
Many paintings of the bird.
Conservation status

Extinct  (late 18th - 19th century) (IUCN 3.1)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Gruiformes
Family: Rallidae
Genus: Gallirallus
Species: G. pacificus
Binomial name
Gallirallus pacificus
(Gmelin, 1789)

The Tahitian Red-billed Rail (Gallirallus pacificus) or Tahiti Rail is a poorly known extinct species of rail. It once lived in Tahiti, where, on the second voyage of James Cook in 1773, one was acquired and described by Johann Reinhold Forster as well as painted by his son, Georg. The Tahitian name was transcribed as ebōnā or ōmnā (see also below).

Name[change | change source]

Due to a major mix-up with the name, the name Rallus ecaudatus was commonly used in the mid-late 20th century to refer to this bird. This is, however, in error, as the name is a subspecies of the Buff-banded Rail. Today it is known as Gallirallus philippensis ecaudatus. Also, at least once, the Tahitian bird has been referred to by the scientific name of the Samoan Wood Rail, Gallinula pacifica, in a major scientific work.

Extinction[change | change source]

Not much is known about the bird's extinction. One idea is that the bird might have been prey to other species. The bird's habitat had many volcanos that were extremely active.

Reference[change | change source]