Fun Guam Rail Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Jan 04, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Guam Rail facts are about the bird's behavior in the wild.

The Guam rail is also known as Ko'Ko in the Chamorro language. This word comes from an Austronesian language spoken by the native people of Guam, an island territory of the United States.

It was once an extinct bird species on the island of Guam (Rota and Cocos island). Many endeavors have been made to conserve the species as it was endemic to the region and was found nowhere else in the world.

Guam rails are small, flightless, and fast-running species. Guam rail birds were released in batches to make sure they survive the native snake-free forest island habitat. It was all done thanks to the captive breeding by the Guam Department of Agriculture as well as Suzanne Medina which helped to increase the native populations of the Guam rail chicks.

These flightless critically endangered Gaum rail come from the family Radillae, and their scientific name is Gallirallus owstoni. A Guam rail chick leaves with their parents to start foraging within 24 hours of hatching.

Guam rail bird is found nowhere else but on the island of Guam.

After the conservation departments of Guam made the island into a snake-free island, the captive breeding of the populations of the birds took place and resulted in their exponential increase.

Researchers agree that snakes, especially the brown tree snake, were the reason for the extinction of many species including the Guam Rail even though the species is known for breeding year-round.

Even after the revival of the species, it was believed that the native Guam rail would be extinct in the wild of Guam.

However, after the tremendous conservation efforts by the Guam Department of Agriculture of these Guam railbirds have been re-introduced to the wild. So, continue your search for more information regarding Guam native Rail Birds and read on!

If you are in search of more information regarding animals, take a look at purple finch and corncrake facts.

Guam Rail Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Guam rail?

The type of animal Guam Rail (Ko'Ko) is a bird.  

What class of animal does a Guam rail belong to?

The Guam Rail belongs to the class Aves of the family Rallidae.

How many Guam rails are there in the world?

Before the 1960s this species was in abundance in the Guam region. However, when the species was attacked by the brown tree snake, it ended up making the Guam rails extinct.

The brown snakes were introduced to the island by accident. After conservation, there are more than 100 living in their natural habitat. After all the endeavors taken in the year 1987 to conserve and create a habitat safe enough for the birds to survive, the species is thriving well and their populations are on the rise.

Where does a Guam rail live?

The Guam rail (Ko'Ko) can be spotted in the wild of the Roca islands and Cocos island. It is a conservation region constructed just for the survival of the species.

What is a Guam rail's habitat?

Generally, Guam rails (Ko'Ko) used to be widely distributed in the Savanna, grasslands, forest areas, and agricultural areas. But after their revival from extinction, they have become native to the forest lands of Rota and Cocos island.  

Who do Guam rails live with?

The Guam rail lives in a group or in alone.

How long does a Guam rail live?

According to the Guam department, male Guam rail (Ko'Ko) has a life expectancy of 9.5 years whereas female Ko'Ko has a life expectancy of around 5.7 years.

How do they reproduce?

The Guam rail bird of Rota and Cocos island are endangered species and they reach their sexual maturity at around five months. Their peak breeding season is during the monsoon season which starts in July and lasts till November.

The couple constructs a nest in dense grass on dry ground. The species is known to have breeding programs that go on year-round.

What is their conservation status?

According to the IUCN, the conservation status of the native Guam rail (Ko'Ko)  is Critically Endangered.

Once it was Extinct in the wild in Rota, but now due to the breeding programs adopted by the Guam region and the zoos that helped to conserve the species, they have brought them back to the wilderness. If it wasn't for the special breeding program, the species would have been extinct completely, as it was for 40 years.

This species has not only been revived but also happens to be the second species to revive from being extinct through a specialized breeding program.

Guam Rail Fun Facts

What do Guam rails look like?

This species of birds who have been brought back from the brink has a distinctive brown head and neck along with a stripe just above the eye. Their lower neck and breasts are gray in color. The rest of the body is covered in white plumage.

Bird facts about small cute guam rail

*Please note the main image and this image are of a Weka Bird that belongs to the same family as the Guam rail. If you have an image of a Guam rail please let us know at

How cute are they?

These little birds are small flightless ones. They are kept in captive breeding. They are really elegant yet cute birds with a brown head and neck, a gray stripe called bars are present just above their eye and also the gray color is found on their breast and lower neck, apart from that they have a white body.

How do they communicate?

Once extinct in the wild, the Guam rails are loud birds who make a 'kee-yu' sound which sounds quite like screeching. They also make loud disturbances with whistle or a series of whistles.

How big is a Guam rail?

The Guam rail (scientific name Gallirallus owstoni) is about 11 in (28 cm) in length, although the female species is comparatively smaller than the male species. Thus, it is not a very big bird when compared to a Belted kingfisher.

How high can a Guam rail fly?

This once extinct in the wild species is a flightless bird. The bird has short and round wings which makes it difficult for the bird to have flight.

How much does a Guam rail weigh?

The Guam rail which also known as Gallirallus owstoni is a light bird that weighs around only 7-12 oz (200-350 g).

What are their male and female names of the species?

This species is just referred to as male Guam rails and female Guam rails as there are no specific names given to the genders of the endangered species.

What would you call a baby Guam rail?

Like every other bird, even at the precocial stage (which is the advanced offspring stage of a bird), Guam rails babies are called chicks. This is because they don't have any specific name been assigned to the species.

What do they eat?

Guam rails are omnivores who rely both on vegetable matter, seeds, flowers and insects, geckos, snails, and snugs. Though this population of birds has been captive, still it likes to feed on options mentioned here that were available to it in the wild.

Are they aggressive?

Guam rails are not birds who are associated with aggression. However, it has been generally seen that they are often aggressive during mating.

Would they make a good pet?

As they are still a reviving population from their extinction, it won't be permitted by authorities to keep them as pets, even though they are really cute. They are still under conservation in the islands of Guam, which are Rota and Cocos Island. This means that they are not a very good option as a pet.

Did you know...

Guam rail is only the second species to revive from the extinction as these species were seriously threatened by the brown tree snake, who preyed on the eggs and young ones of Guam rails.

The extinction was the result of the United States cargo ship that accidentally brought snakes on the Guam Island, which eventually became the reason for the extinction of three bird species including the Guam rail.

Thanks to the captive breeding set up by Suzanne Medina, there was a revival of the species' population. There's a very special way of breeding them. Birds have their profile and they are bred according to their personalities and genetic constraints which is a very unique way of breeding birds.

The birds have white stripes which are called bars and they have short wings with spots that are brown in color and are barred with the color white. The bird has strong feet which are medium in size and long feet (toes) that help the Guam rails to walk on the grass.

The species of the bird has a Chamorro name known as 'Ko'Ko'. Chamorro is an Austronesian language spoken by some of the population of the people of Guam, approximately 25,000 people.  

The model by which the population was introduced was not a trial but also became a model for a future revival of species as the program. It is already said by many researchers that if the zoos did not step in when the time was right, it would not have been possible for the Guam rail to be restored.

When the zoos collaborated with the Guam Department and with the help of breeding programs, there was a proliferation of this species rehabilitated into the Rota and Cocos island.

Though not much information is available when it comes to the secretive nature of the bird still it has been observed that the Guam rail is known to walk and rather run without making any noise even when they are moving on thick vegetation.

Why are Guam rails important?

Guam rails are not only an important species but a special one when it comes to conservation. They are considered the second species to revive from extinction.

As the species used to be endemic to Guam and found nowhere else in the world, it became even more important to save the dying species. Their model could also help in the reintroduction of other species.

What is the relationship between Guam rails and brown tree snakes?

Brown tree snakes were the reason for the decline of the population of the species of Guam bird. These brown tree snakes were accidentally introduced during World War II.

This led the snakes to feed on the eggs and the young ones of Guam rails and eventually caused the extinction of the Guam rails. With no prior predators on the island, the flightless birds had been allowed to flourish.

As soon as the snakes arrived, they were easily killed. The relationship between Guam rail and brown tree snake is that of prey and predator.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including grouse, or scarlet macaw.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Guam rails coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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