White-breasted waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus, copyright JJ Harrison.

Belongs within: Gruiformes.
Contains: Rallus, Gallirallus, Gallinula, Aramides, Porphyrio, Laterallus, Rallina.

Rallidae, the rails, are a group of ground-dwelling birds found mostly in swampy or other damp habitats. They are commonly narrow-bodied birds with strong, moderately long legs. Taxonomic arrangements within the family have often been unstable though Garcia-R et al. (2014) identified support for eight major clades corresponding to genera or genus groups. The basalmost of these in their analysis was a cosmopolitan group of mostly longer-billed rails including the genera Rallus and Gallirallus. The more aquatic Gallinula group may form a clade with the Aramides group, an assemblage of New World rails with mostly olive-brown upperparts, dark grey underparts, finely barred flanks and a buffy vent.

Synapomorphies (from Livezey 1998): Os lacrimale with processus supraorbitalis present; margo medialis of extremitas sternalis coracoidei with medial, variably prominent crista medialis, continued cranially by crista procoracoidei; ala postacetabularis ilii, margo lateralis, crista dorsolateralis ilii, angulus caudolateralis marked by comparatively prominent, ventrally curved flange, undercut by deep concavitas infracristalis; ala postacetabularis ilii, facies ventralis, facies renalis ilii flat or convex, delimiting comparatively dorsoventrally deep fossa renalis, recessus iliacus; extremitas proximalis femoris, trochanter femoris, crista trochanteris, facies caudalis distal to facies articularis antitrochantericus with thickening weakly developed; hypotarsus, lamina medialis hypotarsi, plantar prominence relative to corpus tarsometatarsi, facies plantaris, less than or equal to that of lamina lateralis hypotarsi; sulcus extensorius of corpus tarsometatarsi with arcus extensorius present.

<==Rallidae [Crecina, Crecinae, Eulabeornithini, Fulicarina, Fulicina, Fulicinae, Rallia, Rallinae, Rallini]
    |--Rallina L98
    |    |  i. s.: Aphanapteryx Frauenfeld 1868 L98
    |    |           |--A. bonasia (Sélys-Longchamps 1848) L98
    |    |           `--A. leguati (Milne-Edwards 1874) L98 [=Erythromachus leguati WH02]
    |    |         Atlantisia Lowe 1923 G-RGT14, L98
    |    |           |--*A. rogersi Lowe 1923 G-RGT14
    |    |           `--A. elpenor Olson 1973 L98
    |    |         Rougetius Bonaparte 1856 G-RGT14, L98
    |    |           `--*R. rougetii (Guérin-Méneville 1843) G-RGT14 (see below for synonymy)
    |    |--‘Rallus’ madagascariensis Verreaux 1833 L98
    |    `--+--Rallus G-RGT14
    |       `--+--+--Gallirallus G-RGT14
    |          |  `--+--Diaphorapteryx Forbes 1892 G-RGT14, CC10
    |          |     |    `--*D. hawkinsi (Forbes 1892) [=Aphanapteryx hawkinsi, D. hawkingi (l. c.)] CC10
    |          |     `--Gymnocrecini L98
    |          |          |--Habroptila Gray 1860 G-RGT14
    |          |          |    `--*H. wallacii Gray 1860 G-RGT14, L98 [=Rallus wallacii L98]
    |          |          `--Gymnocrex Salvadori 1875 L98
    |          |               |--*G. rosenbergii (Schlegel 1866) G-RGT14 (see below for synonymy)
    |          |               |--G. plumbeiventris (Gray 1862) G-RGT14 (see below for synonymy)
    |          |               `--G. talaudensis Lambert 1998 L98
    |          `--+--Dryolimnas Sharpe 1893 G-RGT14, L98
    |             |    |--*D. cuvieri (Pucheran 1845) [=Rallus cuvieri] G-RGT14
    |             |    |--D. abbotti (Ridgway 1894) L98
    |             |    `--D. aldabranus (Günther 1879) L98 [=D. cuvieri aldabranus MS55]
    |             `--+--Crex Bechstein 1803 G-RGT14, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
    |                |    |--C. crex (Linnaeus 1758) (see below for synonymy) CC10
    |                |    `--C. egregia (Peters 1854) G-RGT14 (see below for synonymy)
    |                `--+--Aramidopsis Sharpe 1893 G-RGT14, L98
    |                   |    `--*A. plateni (Blasius 1886) G-RGT14, L98 [=Rallus plateni L98]
    |                   `--+--‘Rallus’ striatus Linnaeus 1766 G-RGT14 (see below for synonymy)
    |                      `--Lewinia Gray 1855 G-RGT14 (see below for synonymy)
    |                           |--L. mirifica (Parkers & Amadon 1959) [=Rallus mirificus] G-RGT14
    |                           `--+--L. pectoralis (Temminck 1831) G-RGT14 (see below for synonymy)
    |                              `--L. muelleri (Rothschild 1893) G-RGT14 (see below for synonymy)
    `--+--+--Gallinula G-RGT14
       |  `--+--+--Aramides G-RGT14
       |     |  `--Amaurolimnas Sharpe 1893 G-RGT14, L98
       |     |       `--*A. concolor (Gosse 1847) G-RGT14, L98 [=Rallus concolor G-RGT14]
       |     `--+--+--‘Rallus’ albicollis Vieillot 1819 G-RGT14 [=Crex albicollis L98, Porzana albicollis G-RGT14]
       |        |  |    |--R. a. albicollis PP62
       |        |  |    `--‘Porzana’ a. typhoeca Peters 1932 PP62
       |        |  `--Neocrex Sclater & Salvin 1869 G-RGT14
       |        |       |--*N. erythrops (Sclater 1867) [=Porzana erythrops] G-RGT14
       |        |       `--N. columbiana Bangs 1898 G-RGT14 [=N. columbianus G-RGT14, Porzana columbiana L98]
       |        |            |--N. c. columbiana HSS13
       |        |            `--N. c. ripleyi HSS13
       |        `--Pardirallina L98
       |             |--Cyanolimnas Barbour & Peters 1927 L98
       |             |    `--*C. cerverai Barbour & Peters 1927 G-RGT14, L98
       |             `--+--Ortygonax Heine 1890 L98
       |                |    |--O. nigricans (Vieillot 1819) L98
       |                |    `--O. sanguinolentus (Swainson 1838) L98
       |                `--Pardirallus Bonaparte 1856 G-RGT14
       |                     |--*P. maculatus (Boddaert 1783) [=Rallus maculatus] G-RGT14
       |                     `--+--P. nigricans (Vieillot 1819) [=Rallus nigricans] G-RGT14
       |                        `--P. sanguinolentus (Swainson 1838) [=Rallus sanguinolentus] G-RGT14
       `--+--Porphyrionini [Porphyrioninae, Porphyriornithini] L98
          |    |--Aphanocrex Wetmore 1963 L98
          |    |    `--A. podarces Wetmore 1963 [=Atlantisia podarces] L98
          |    `--+--Porphyrio G-RGT14
          |       `--Porphyrula Blyth 1852 L98
          |            |--P. alleni (Thompson 1842) L98
          |            `--+--P. flavirostris (Gmelin 1789) L98
          |               `--P. martinica (Linnaeus 1766) L98
          `--+--+--+--Himantornis Hartlaub 1855 G-RGT14, L98 [Himantornithinae]
             |  |  |    `--*H. haematopus Hartlaub 1855 G-RGT14, L98
             |  |  `--+--‘Rallina’ isabellinus Schlegel 1865 G-RGT14 [=Amaurornis isabellinus L98, G-RGT14]
             |  |     `--Megacrex Albertis & Salvadori 1879 G-RGT14
             |  |          `--*M. inepta D’Albertis & Salvadori 1879 G-RGT14 [=Amaurornis ineptus L98]
             |  `--+--+--Gallicrex Blyth 1849 G-RGT14
             |     |  |    `--*G. cinerea (Gmelin 1789) [=Fulica cinerea] G-RGT14
             |     |  `--Porphyriops Pucheran 1845 L98
             |     |       `--P. melanops (Vieillot 1819) L98
             |     `--Amaurornis Reichenbach 1853 G-RGT14, CC10 [Amaurornithina]
             |          |  i. s.: A. bicolor (Walden 1872) G-RGT14 (see below for synonymy)
             |          |         A. olivieri (Grandidier & Berlioz 1927) G-RGT14 (see below for synonymy)
             |          |--A. phoenicurus (Pennant 1769) L98 [=Gallinula phoenicurus G-RGT14]
             |          `--+--*A. olivacea (Meyen 1834) CC10, JT12, L98 [=Gallinula olivacea G-RGT14]
             |             |--A. magnirostris Lambert 1998 L98
             |             |--A. moluccana (Wallace 1865) JT12, L98 (see below for synonymy)
             |             `--A. ruficrissus L98
             `--+--Laterallus G-RGT14
                `--+--Rallina G-RGT14
                   `--+--‘Gallinula’ flavirostra Swainson 1837 G-RGT14 (see below for synonymy)
                      `--+--Corethrura Gray 1846 L98
                         |    |--C. fusca (Linné 1766) L98 [=Rallus fuscus G-RGT14, Porzana fusca G-RGT14]
                         |    |--C. paykullii (Ljungh 1813) L98 (see below for synonymy)
                         |    `--C. sandwichensis (Gmelin 1789) L98 (see below for synonymy)
                         `--+--‘Rallus’ akool Sykes 1832 [=Amaurornis akool] G-RGT14
                            |    |--R. a. akool VP89
                            |    `--‘Amaurornis’ a. coccineipes VP89
                            `--+--Limnocorax Peters 1854 L98 [incl. Porzanoidea Mathews 1912 CC10]
                               |    `--L. tabuensis (Gmelin 1789) L98, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
                               `--+--Zapornia Stephens in Shaw 1824 (see below for synonymy) CC10
                                  |    `--‘Rallus’ parvus Scopoli 1769 G-RGT14 (see below for synonymy)
                                  `--Schoenocrex Roberts 1922 CC10
                                       `--*S. pusillus (Pallas 1776) CC10 (see below for synonymy)
                                            |--S. p. pusillus CC10
                                            |--‘Porzana pusilla’ affinis (Gray 1845) [=Ortygometra affinis] CC10
                                            |--‘Porzana pusilla’ intermedia RN72
                                            `--‘Porzana pusilla’ palustris Gould 1843 (see below for synonymy) CC10

Rallidae incertae sedis:
  Palaeorallus FP64
    |--P. alienus Kurochkin 1968 M09
    `--P. troxelli FP64
  Pennula sandwichensis FP64
  Ibidopsis Lydekker 1891 M05
    `--*I. hordwelliensis Lydekker 1891 M02
  Quercyrallus Brodkorb 1952 M02
    |--*Q. arenarius (Milne-Edwards 1892) [=Rallus arenarius] M02
    `--Q. quercy Cracraft 1973 M05
  Parvirallus Harrison & Walker 1979 M02
    |--*P. gracilis Harrison & Walker 1979 M02
    |--P. bassetti Harrison 1984 M02
    |--P. gassoni Harrison 1984 M02
    `--P. medius Harrison 1984 M02
  Latipons Harrison & Walker 1979 M02
    |--*L. gardneri Harrison & Walker 1979 M02
    `--L. robinsoni Harrison & Walker 1979 M02
  Montirallus Mlíkovský 1981 M02
    `--*M. gypsorum (Gervais 1848) [=Numenius gypsorum, N. (Limosa) gypsorum, Villetus gypsorum] M02
  Rallicrex Lambrecht 1933 M02
    |--*R. kolozsvarensis Lambrecht 1933 M02
    `--R. polgardiensis Jánossy 1991 M02
  Paraortygometra Lambrecht 1933 [incl. Microrallus Švec 1983] M02
    `--*P. porzanoides (Milne-Edwards 1869) [=Rallus porzanoides; incl. *Microrallus fejfari Švec 1983] M02
  Palaeoaramides Lambrecht 1933 [incl. Tertiariaporphyrula Kuročkin & Ganea 1972] M02
    |--*P. christyi (Milne-Edwards 1869) (see below for synonymy) M02
    |--P. beaumontii (Milne-Edwards 1869) (see below for synonymy) M02
    |--P. lungi (Kuročkin & Ganea 1972) [=Tertiariaporphyrula lungi] M02
    |--P. minutus Cracraft 1973 M02
    `--P. tugarinovi Kuročkin 1980 M02
  Miorallus Lambrecht 1933 M02
    `--*M. major (Milne-Edwards 1869) [=Rallus major] M02
  Mundia elpenor HSS13
  Ionornis martinicus S18
  Belgirallus Mayr & Smith 2001 M05
    |--B. minutus Mayr & Smith 2001 M09
    `--B. oligocaenus Mayr & Smith 2001 M09
  Hovacrex roberti L98
  Pleistorallus Worthy 1997 CC10
    `--*P. flemingi Worthy 1997 CC10
  Aphanolimnas Sharpe 1892 L98
    `--*A. monasa Kittlitz 1858 L98 [=Rallus monasa G-RGT14, Porzana (Limnocorax) monasa L98]
  Nesophylax Murphy 1924 L98
    `--*N. ater (North 1908) [=Porzana (Limnocorax) atra] L98
  Porzanula Frohawk 1892 G-RGT14, L98
    `--*P. palmeri Frohawk 1892 [=Porzana palmeri] L98
  Poliolimnas Sharpe 1893 L98
    `--P. cinereus (Vieillot 1819) WS48, L98 (see below for synonymy)
         |--P. c. cinereus WS48
         |--P. c. brevipes (Ingram 1911) I92
         `--P. c. leucophrys (Gould 1847) (see below for synonymy) WS48
  Aenigmatolimnas Peters 1932 L98
    `--*A. marginalis (Hartlaub 1857) G-RGT14 [=Porzana marginalis G-RGT14, P. (Poliolimnas) marginalis L98]
  Anurolimnas Sharpe 1893 L98
    `--*A. castaneiceps (Sclater & Salvin 1868) [=Porzana castaneiceps] G-RGT14

Amaurornis bicolor (Walden 1872) G-RGT14 [=Porzana bicolor G-RGT14, P. (Limnocorax) bicolor L98]

Amaurornis moluccana (Wallace 1865) JT12, L98 [=Porzana moluccana G-RGT14; incl. A. frankii L98, A. nigrifrons L98, A. ultimus L98]

Amaurornis olivieri (Grandidier & Berlioz 1927) G-RGT14 [=Porzana olivieri G-RGT14, P. (Limnocorax) olivieri L98]

Corethrura paykullii (Ljungh 1813) L98 [=Rallus paykullii G-RGT14, Rallina paykullii L98, Porzana (Corethrura) paykullii L98]

Corethrura sandwichensis (Gmelin 1789) L98 [=Rallus sandwichensis G-RGT14, Porzana (Corethrura) sandwichensis L98]

Crex Bechstein 1803 G-RGT14, CC10 [incl. Crecopsis Sharpe 1893 L98, Ortygometra Forster 1817 B94; Ortygometrinae]

Crex crex (Linnaeus 1758) [=Rallus crex, Ortygometra crex; incl. R. featherstonii Buller 1865, *Crex pratensis] CC10

Crex egregia (Peters 1854) G-RGT14 [=Ortygometra egregia G-RGT14, *Crecopsis egregia L98, Porzana egregia L98]

‘Gallinula’ flavirostra Swainson 1837 G-RGT14 [=Amaurornis flavirostra G-RGT14, Porzana (Limnocorax) flavirostra L98]

Gymnocrex plumbeiventris (Gray 1862) G-RGT14 [=Rallina plumbeiventris G-RGT14, Eulabeornis plumbeiventris L98]

*Gymnocrex rosenbergii (Schlegel 1866) G-RGT14 [=Rallina rosenbergii G-RGT14, Eulabeornis rosenbergii L98]

Lewinia Gray 1855 G-RGT14 [=Donacias Heine & Reichenow 1890 CC10; incl. Hyporallus Iredale & Mathews 1926 CC10]

Lewinia muelleri (Rothschild 1893) G-RGT14 [=Rallus muelleri CC10, Dryolimnas pectoralis muelleri CC10, Gallirallus muelleri L98, *Hyporallus muelleri CC10, Hypotaenidia muelleri CC10, Rallus pectoralis muelleri CC10]

Lewinia pectoralis (Temminck 1831) G-RGT14 [=Rallus pectoralis G-RGT14, Dryolimnas pectoralis HWT01, Gallirallus pectoralis HWT01; incl. G. alberti L98, Rallus brachipus Swainson 1838 CC10, R. pectoralis brachipus WS48, Gallirallus captus L98, R. pectoralis clelandi Mathews 1911 WS48, G. exsul L98, G. insulus L98, Rallus lewinii CC10, *Donacias lewinii CC10, *Lewinia lewinii CC10, Gallirallus mayri L98]

Limnocorax tabuensis (Gmelin 1789) L98, CC10 [=Rallus tabuensis CC10, Ortygometra tabuensis CC10, Porzana tabuensis G-RGT14; incl. Porzanoidea plumbea campbelli Mathews 1912 CC10, Gallinula immaculata Swainson 1828 CC10, Porzana tabuensis immaculata RN72, *Porzanoidea immaculata CC10, Rallus minor Ellman 1861 CC10, Crex plumbea Gray in Griffith 1829 CC10, Porzana tabuensis plumbea CC10, Porzanoidea plumbea CC10, Porzana plumbea roberti Mathews 1912 CC10, Rallus rufopes Ellman 1861 CC10]

Palaeoaramides beaumontii (Milne-Edwards 1869) [=Rallus beaumontii, Pararallus beaumonti, *Tertiariaporphyrula beaumonti] M02

*Palaeoaramides christyi (Milne-Edwards 1869) [=Rallus christyi; incl. R. eximius Milne-Edwards 1869, Palaeoaramides eximius] M02

Poliolimnas cinereus (Vieillot 1819) WS48, L98 [=Porphyrio cinereus WS48, Porzana cinerea G-RGT14; incl. Ortygometra quadristrigata S13]

Poliolimnas cinereus leucophrys (Gould 1847) [=Porzana cinerea leucophrys; incl. Por. cinerea parryi Mathews 1912] WS48

‘Porzana pusilla’ palustris Gould 1843 [incl. P. pusilla fitzroyi Mathews 1912] CC10

‘Rallus’ parvus Scopoli 1769 G-RGT14 [=*Phalaridion parvum CC10, Porzana parva G-RGT14, *Rallites parva CC10; incl. *Zapornia pusilla CC10]

‘Rallus’ striatus Linnaeus 1766 G-RGT14 [=Gallirallus striatus G-RGT14, Hypotaenidia striata L98]

*Rougetius rougetii (Guérin-Méneville 1843) G-RGT14 [=Rallus rougetii S05; incl. Rallus obscurus Gray 1844 (n. n.) S05, Rallus abyssinicus Rüppell 1845 S05]

*Schoenocrex pusillus (Pallas 1776) CC10 [=Rallus pusillus CC10, Porzana pusilla G-RGT14]

Zapornia Stephens in Shaw 1824 [=Zaporina Forster 1827; incl. Phalaridion Kaup 1829, Rallites Pucheran 1845; Zaporniinae] CC10

*Type species of generic name indicated


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Last updated: 20August 2019.

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