Guam rail

Latin Name
Gallirallus owstoni

Class
Birds

Order
Gruiformes

Description

A flightless bird, the Guam rail is mostly dark brown with white stripes on its belly. Its compact body enables the species to move rapidly through dense vegetation.


 

Range

The endangered Guam rail once flourished on Guam but is extinct there due to the introduction of the brown tree snake. A small number of birds from an experimental breeding program live on Rota, an island just south of Guam.


Status

Extinct in the wild. Once present in the hundreds of thousands, the Guam rail was wiped out on its native island by the introduction of the brown tree snake.


Habitat

South Pacific island grasslands


Niche

The Guam rail hunts snails, insects and lizards. The species is territorial and will aggressively defend its home range against other birds.


Life History

Guam rails build their nests on the ground, shaping plant stems and dried grasses into a cup-shaped structure. Chicks are cared for by both parents and leave the nest within a month of hatching.




Bonus Content

Vice President of Animal Care Megan Ross readies a Guam rail for release.

Guam Rails Back from the Brink and Into the Wild
Vice President of Animal Care Megan Ross helps release Guam rails on Cocos Island—part of an effort to conserve the species, which is extinct in the wild.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums works with the Guam Division of Aquatics and Wildlife Resources to manage the recovery of Guam rails, which are extinct in the wild.

Planning a Return from Extinction
How do you bring a species back from the brink of extinction? If you’re Vice President of Animal Care Megan Ross, you head to Guam to help plan the future for endangered Guam rails.

Vice President of Animal Care Megan Ross, Ph.D., shares a trip to release Guam rails on the island of Rota.

Return to the Wild
Vice President of Animal Care Megan Ross, Ph.D., shares a trip to release Guam rails on the island of Rota. The species is officially extinct in the wild, but zoo expertise is contributing to its recovery.

A look at the habitat being protected for Guam rails, which are extinct in the wild.

Goodbye to Guam
Vice President of Animal Care Megan Ross wrapped up her conservation trip to Guam by looking at future release sites for Guam rails, which are extinct in the wild.

 

 


ARKive Media

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Lincoln Park Zoo Exhibit