Fun Inaccessible Island Rai Facts For Kids

Devangana Rathore
May 08, 2023 By Devangana Rathore
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Sapna Sinha
Inaccessible Island Rail facts to test your knowledge of this mysterious bird species.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.5 Min

If you want to see this bird in person, you might have to undertake a more perilous journey than you see in an adventure movie! Living on the other end of land bridges, the Inaccessible Rail is one bird that is a very difficult one to see.

They live on a small, inaccessible group of islands where they migrated 1.5 million years ago, and have stayed ever since, cut off from the world. People living in the United Kingdom may have already heard of them - called St. Helena.

For so many years they saw no one, and then, their origin was discovered by humans less than 200 years ago.

You might wonder, how did these land bridges come into existence at all? Scientists have theorized that the origin of this land bridge may have come from the debris of the nearby islands, which do not exist anymore.

Do you want to know more about this brave bird, that migrated to these islands more than 1.5 million years ago, and continues to thrive, far away from the world? Then read on, and do not forget to check out other birds who live on islands - like the Blue Jay and Toco Toucan.

Inaccessible Island Rail Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Inaccessible Island Rail?

The Inaccessible Island Rail (Laterallus rogersi) is a type of bird, which cannot fly.

What class of animal does an Inaccessible Island Rail belong to?

The Inaccessible Island Rail (Laterallus rogersi) belongs to the class of birds.

How many Inaccessible Island Rails are there in the world?

There are about 5600 Inaccessible Island Rail birds in the world.

Where does an Inaccessible Island Rail live?

The world's smallest flightless bird, the Inaccessible Island Rail, can only be located on Inaccessible Island in the Tristan Archipelago.

What is an Inaccessible Island Rail's habitat?

On Inaccessible Island, the rail can be found in practically all habitats and at all elevations. Its densest populations are found in tussock grass fields.

This habitat can be found near the sea and on the cliffs that cover the majority of the island. The Inaccessible Island rail can also be spotted in the central plateau's upland fern-bush and island woodland, and it is the world's smallest extant flightless bird.

Who do Inaccessible Island Rails live with?

These species are solitary by nature.

How long does an Inaccessible Island Rail live?

The Inaccessible Island Rail bird lives for about six years in favorable conditions.

How do they reproduce?

The Inaccessible Island Rail is a type of seasonal breeder who lays her eggs from October to January months. They are monogamous by nature and form lifelong pair bonds.

The nests are hidden among the tussock grass and ferns. The structure of nests is dome-like and pear/oval-shaped. Mostly, the nests are entirely constructed from the same material.

The openings are close to the narrow end of the nests, connected by a tunnel or track which goes roughly half a meter away. Two eggs are laid in a clutch, and the color of the eggs is milky gray-white with brown-rufous markings.

The male and female both incubate the clutch, since, in the observations made, the male bird incubates for a longer period.

A couple carries food to their incubating partner, which is eaten either on the nest or near it. It takes between 23-32 hours for the eggs to hatch.

What is their conservation status?

The IUCN Red List rated the Island Rail (Laterallus rogersi) as a Vulnerable species, due to their vulnerability to extinction.

Inaccessible Island Rail Fun Facts

What do Inaccessible Island Rails look like?

The Inaccessible Island Rail (Laterallus rogersi) male birds are darker chestnut-brown above as well as dark gray underneath, with deteriorated white barring on the belly and both flanks, with red-eye. The physical structure of females is almost the same as the male birds but has a paler gray underbelly and a light brown wash.

These species have a short black bill that matches the length of its head. The Inaccessible Island rail's feathers seem to be almost hair-like.

Dark chestnut-brown colored Inaccessible Island rail.

How cute are they?

TheIsland Rail (Laterallus rogersi) is possibly the coolest bird. These rail species from the rail family (genus:Laterallus) with hair-like feathers, black bills, red-eye, and brown plumage are small and cute birds.

How do they communicate?

The Inaccessible Island Rail birds are a very loud species that call a lot. This could be due to the species' thick forests, which make calls the effective way to communicate, and couples and family members interact effectively while feeding. A long trill can be used when pair meet and when challenging a competitor.

How big is an Inaccessible Island Rail?

The average length of Island Rail (Laterallus rogersi), of the genus Rallidae, is 5.1–6.1 in. While a relative of these species, the Dot Winged crake's length is 5.5-5.9 in. Regular Rail birds measure 4-18 in long. Island Rallidae and its relative belong to the same family.

How fast can an Inaccessible Island Rail fly?

The smallest extant flightless bird, endemic to the Inaccessible Island in the Tristan archipelago, has very small, weak, and reduced wings. This is because these birds (of the family Rallidae) can't fly.

How much does an Inaccessible Island Rail weigh?

The average weight of male extant flightless birds is 1.43 oz and for females, the weight is 1.3 oz.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is not any specific name for the male and female species of Island Rail.

What would you call a baby Inaccessible Island Rail?

A baby Inaccessible Island Rail (genus Laterallus) doesn't have any special name.

What do they eat?

Amphipods, earthworms, mites, isopods, and a range of organisms such as flies, beetles, caterpillars, and moths are among the invertebrates they eat. Centipedes are also eaten, and a newly added species of centipede is a staple in their diet. They can eat the berries including the seeds of the dock, in addition to invertebrate prey.

Are they dangerous?

The world's smallest flightless bird, Laterallus rogersi species is not dangerous to humans.

Would they make a good pet?

This smallest extant flightless bird is on the vulnerable list and likes to live a solitary life. So these species of the Inaccessible Island in the Tristan archipelago would not be good pets.

Did you know...

The world's tiniest, still-living, extant flightless bird can only be located on Inaccessible Island, a remote island in the South Atlantic Ocean's Tristan archipelago (UK residents will recognize it as St. Helena). Due to being endemic to Inaccessible Island, this bird got its name.

Scientists first reported the bird on Inaccessible Island, which is  2,175 mi from South American areas and 1,740 mi from South Africa.

The origin of the Inaccessible Island rail was a long-standing secret due to the unavailability of sufficient data. Just before plate tectonics theory, scientists speculated that the bird had traveled to this island over a submerged land bridge.

According to scientists, the predecessor of this bird arrived on the island from South America around 1.5 million years ago. They may have reached there with the help of wings or floating on debris material.

This species was first identified by British surgeon Percy Lowe, who was then in charge of the British Museum ornithology collections. Lowe labeled this species ‘rogersi’, from the first person to collect samples, H.M.C. Rogers, a chaplain on the neighboring island of Tristan da Cunha.

Are Inaccessible Island Rails Endangered?

These Rail birds, which can't fly, are vulnerable to extinction. The main threats to this species are feral cats, house mice, and brown rats.

Study shows that these predators are not native to the islands but they belong to neighboring Tristan da Cunha or Nightingale Island. Through other visiting boats or fishing vessels these predators could reach the island home of Inaccessible Rail.

The Tristan da Cunha Island Council announced the Inaccessive Island as a nature reserve and now access to this place is prohibited. This species' future can be secured by increasing training on biosecurity in the local communities.

What is the difference between an Inaccessible Island Rail and a regular Rail bird?

This bird (found in Tristan da Cunha) has black-colored bills and feet with brownish hair-like feathers and red eyes. The Inaccessible Island rail is territorial. Regular Rail birds are mostly marsh birds with chicken-like shapes, short tails, and rounded wings, and have huge feet. These birds are secretive by nature.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our Blackburnian Warbler facts, and Greater Sage-Grouse fun facts for kids pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Inaccessible island rail coloring pages.

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Written by Devangana Rathore

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language, Master of Philosophy

Devangana Rathore picture

Devangana RathoreBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language, Master of Philosophy

Devangana is a highly accomplished content writer and a deep thinker with a Master's degree in Philosophy from Trinity College, Dublin. With a wealth of experience in copywriting, she has worked with The Career Coach in Dublin and is constantly looking to enhance her skills through online courses from some of the world's leading universities. Devangana has a strong background in computer science and is also an accomplished editor and social media manager. Her leadership skills were honed during her time as the literacy society president and student president at the University of Delhi.

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Fact-checked by Sapna Sinha

Bachelor of Business Management specializing in Financial Management

Sapna Sinha picture

Sapna SinhaBachelor of Business Management specializing in Financial Management

Sapna has a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Poornima University, Rajasthan. She has writing experience from working for a news agency as a writer, interning at various companies, and writing and editing articles on education.

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