Fun Lord Howe Woodhen Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Lord Howe Woodhen Facts For Kids

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The Lord Howe woodhen is native to the east coast of Australia. A member of the Rallidae family, the woodhens are flightless and are only found in the whereabouts of Lord Howe Island. The Lord Howe Island is now declared a World Heritage Area and is almost 435 mi (700 km) to the east of Port Macquarie along the south Pacific Ocean. The birds are primarily found in the island's higher, mountainous areas. These forests are mostly covered by gnarled moss and lesser palm trees. The birds are monogamous in nature and breed with the same partner throughout. During this time both the parents engage in feeding the chicks and protecting the nest from predators. The breeding occurs mostly in the lowlands due to the proper availability of food and water. Within 65 days of birth, the chicks get fully grown up and form their own post-juvenile groups. Read on to find out more about this interesting bird, the Lord Howe woodhen.

If you like reading this, you might want to know about the Australian pelican and Sarus crane.

Fun Lord Howe Woodhen Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Earthworms, spiders, and crustaceans

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

1-4 eggs

How much do they weigh?

Male: 0.9-1.7 lb (410–780 g) Female: 0.7-1.4 lb (330–615 g)

How long are they?

Male: 13.4-16.5 in (34–42 cm) Female: 12.6-14.6 in (32–37 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Olive, brown, white

Skin Type


What were their main threats?


What is their conservation status?


Where you'll find them?

Subtropical Forests











Lord Howe Woodhen Interesting Facts

What type of animal is Lord Howe woodhen?

The Lord Howe island woodhen (Gallirallus sylvestris) is a bird of the Sylvestris species. Lord Howe bird is a member of the family Rallidae belonging to the Order Gruiformes of Australian origin.

What class of animal does Lord Howe woodhen belong to?

The Lord Howe island woodhen (Gallirallus sylvestris) belongs to the Aves class of animals. The Sylvestris species has the genus Hypotaenidia with phylum Chordata.

How many Lord Howe woodhens are there in the world?

The Lord Howe island woodhens (Gallirallus sylvestris) is listed under the Endangered Category by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). Even though the birds are an endangered Sylvestris species they have a stable population of 220-230 individuals residing on Lord Howe Island.

Where does Lord Howe woodhen live?

The Lord Howe island woodhen was one of the most endangered species, but due to a systematic conservation method and program, the birds have a stable life. The Lord Howe birds of Sylvestris species are strictly restricted and found on the Lord Howe Island off the Australian east coast.

What is Lord Howe woodhen's habitat?

The entire population of the Lord Howe island woodhen birds is restricted to the subtropical forest of Lord Howe Island. The Lord Howe island's habitat includes several rainforest environments ranging from the low-lying palm forests to the mountain tops. The Lord Howe birds are mostly sedentary but movement occurs across the forests in search of proper food and shelter.

Who do Lord Howe woodhens live with?

The Lord Howe island woodhens of the Sylvestris species are strictly monogamous and are known to pair for life. The birds pair once and have the same partner for multiple breeding seasons. The Australian Lord Howe mostly live in pairs and are occasionally seen living alone before pairing for the breeding season. At present, around 73-74 pairs of the Lord Howe birds are residing on the Lord Howe Island.

How long does Lord Howe woodhen live?

The Lord Howe birds are known to have a long life in comparison to the other wildlife creatures. The Lord Howe woodhen lifespan may extend up to 14 years on average. Although when the species are kept under proper wildlife conservation, they might live a longer and healthier life.

How do they reproduce?

A native of the Lord Howe Island, the Lord Howe woodhens are territorial and monogamous by nature. The birds pair once and for their entire life. The Sylvestris species breed during the onset of summer and lay eggs during the months of August-January. The bird attains sexual maturity by the age of 9 months and is known to be ready for breeding. The pair builds a nest stuck to the ground beneath vegetation or in burrows made with grass, ferns, and leaves. Both parents are responsible for building the nest and nurturing the chicks post the breeding period. The pair lays 1-4 eggs and the incubation period lasts up to 20-23 days. The eggs are shifted from the nest to the brood nest within two days of hatching. Within 28 days of birth, the Lord Howe chicks develop feathers.

What is their conservation status?

The Lord Howe island woodhen is an Endangered Australian species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). Previously they were near-extinct creatures but due to the adoption of a systematic program and consistent captive breeding, stable growth in the population is noticed. Currently, 220-230 Lord Howe individuals are present with 73-74 pairs living in the forests of the Lord Howe Island.

Lord Howe Woodhen Fun Facts

What do Lord Howe woodhens look like?

Both sexes are similar to each other in terms of appearances but females are smaller than males in terms of their size. The Lord Howe woodhen wing is predominantly plain olive and brown in color while the remiges have a dark brown shade. The chicks have orange remiges but the plumage is reddish-brown with the bill being comparatively shorter.

These forests are mostly covered by gnarled moss

How cute are they?

Needless to say, these woodhens are small, fluffy, and brown creatures. The polished and sober colors make them look attractive and are a delight to the eye of the visitors.

How do they communicate?

The Lord Howe bird has a loud, significant whistle 'coo-eet'. The calls are repetitive and are emitted by the pairs to the neighboring pairs. They can be heard mostly during the day and rarely at night. In case of danger, to warn the other members, they emit a loud 'brr-deep'. The chicks usually communicate with their parents by emitting a 'booomp' note.

How big is a Lord Howe woodhen?

Lord Howe woodhens have an average weight of around  0.9-1.7 lb (410–780 g) in the case of males and 0.7-1.4 lb (330–615 g) in the case of female individuals. The Lord Howe woodhen height may go up to 16.5 in (42 cm) for the male and 14.6 in (37 cm) for the female members. They are small and are less than the size of a weka bird of the rail family that measures around 18-20 in (45.7-50.8 cm).

How fast can a Lord Howe woodhen fly?

Although the birds are flightless creatures, they have an average wingspan of around 18.5-19.3 in (47–49 cm).

How much does a Lord Howe woodhen weigh?

They have a weight of  0.9-1.7 lb (410–780 g) for the male and 0.7-1.4 lb (330–615 g) for the female members of the family.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name assigned to the male and the female members. They are mostly referred to as the gender that the individuals belong to.

What would you call a baby Lord Howe woodhen?

A baby Lord Howe woodhen is usually referred to as a chick.

What do they eat?

The Sylvestris species is omnivorous by nature and feed on worms, crustaceans, insects, mollusks, myriapods, spiders, and Hemiptera. They feed on lichens, fungi, pteridophytes, and fruits as well. They also tend to feed on meat, stew, butter, porridge, biscuits, bread, chocolate if available. In the case of water, they depend on the island's streams and pools.

Are they dangerous?

The Lord Howe woodhens are known to not be dangerous or harmful to humans or related creatures. Although they get aggressive and protective while guarding their nests during the breeding season.

Would they make a good pet?

The Lord Howe bird is a bird of the wild and there has been no information regarding them being kept as pets by humans. Although due to the decreasing population trend earlier they were kept for conservation in captive breeding, being provided with proper food and shelter.

Did you know...

Some of these woodhens are known to lay eggs 11 times within a span of 18 months!

The woodhens travel from the lower to the higher parts of the mountains mostly during the night.

They were considered the most critically threatened birds in terms of their existence during the mid-'60s.

Why is it called Lord Howe woodhen?

Since the birds are only found on the Lord Howe Island off the east coast of Australia, they are named after the place of their origin.

Is Lord Howe woodhen endangered?

Yes, the Lord Howe birds are currently classified as endangered. The major reason for that is the clearing of forests as well as the unrestricted hunting activities by humans for food during the period when Lord Howe island saw human settlement.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these giant cowbird facts and ani bird facts for kids.

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

 Main image by Toby Hudson.

Second image by patrickkavanagh.

Written By
Moumita Dutta

<p>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.</p>

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