Wednesday 22 May
Blue-faced rail (Gymnocrex rosenbergii)
What’s the World’s Favourite Species?Find out here.
Blue-faced rail fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Blue-faced rail description
A rare, ground-dwelling bird known from just two islands in Indonesia (2), the blue-faced rail (Gymnocrex rosenbergii) is most easily distinguished by the patch of bright cobalt blue skin around the eyes (2). This blue is particularly prominent against the purplish-brown upperparts and black crown, tail and underparts (4) (5). Like all rails (those in the Rallidae family), the blue-faced rail has short wings, long legs, and its strong feet bear sharp claws (6). Male and female blue-faced rails are similar in appearance (2) (3).
- Also known as
- Bald-faced rail, Schlegel's rail. Top
The Nature Conservancy:
Wildlife Conservation Society:
- The cutting and burning of forests or woodlands to create space for agriculture or livestock.
IUCN Red List (November, 2010)
- del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (1996) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 3: Hoatzin to Auks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
- Stattersfield, A. and Capper, D. (2000) Threatened Birds of the World. Birdlife International, Cambridge, UK.
BirdLife International (November, 2010)
- Evans, A.H. (1900) Birds. In: Harmer, S.F. and Shipley, A.E. (Eds.) The Cambridge Natural History. Macmillan and Co., London.
- Mobley, J.A. (2009) Birds of the World. Marshall Cavendish Corporation, Tarrytown, New York.
- BirdLife International (2001) Threatened Birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK.
- Sibley, C.G. and Monroe Jr, B.L. (1990) Distribution and Taxonomy of Birds of the World. Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut.
- Thomson, E.D. (1964) A New Dictionary of Birds. Nelson, London.
BirdLife International (2003) Saving Asia's Threatened Birds: a Guide for Government and Civil Society. BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK. Available at:
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
Blue-faced rail biology
A largely ground-dwelling bird, the blue-faced rail is only able to fly for short distances (2) (3). It is thought to feed mainly on snails, beetles and other insects (2) (7). Breeding is suspected to take place around January and December (2) (7).Top
Blue-faced rail range
The blue-faced rail lives on the island of Sulawesi and the nearby island of Peleng in Indonesia (3).Top
Blue-faced rail habitat
Although primarily an inhabitant of dense, wet lowland forest (7), the blue-faced rail also occurs in abandoned rice fields (2) (8). It is thought to prefer areas with a thick understory of small saplings, palms, rattans and bamboos, near forest streams and pools. It has been recorded at a range of altitudes, most commonly between 150 and 900 metres (3).Top
Blue-faced rail status
The blue-faced rail is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
Blue-faced rail threats
The small population of blue-faced rails is believed to be declining, placing this species at risk of extinction (4). The main cause of this decline is the destruction, degradation and fragmentation of its habitat (3). In the past two decades there has been a rapid loss of lowland forest in Sulawesi and Peleng, primarily as a result of agriculture (10).
Such destruction has frequently been the result of a growing human population. In Indonesia there has been a policy for many years to re-settle people from the large islands to less populated regions such as Sulawesi. These schemes often have very negative effects on the environment: forests are cleared for agriculture, new roads and housing developments, and there is often increased hunting and unsustainable slash-and-burn farming (10).Top
Blue-faced rail conservation
The blue-faced rail occurs in five protected areas: Borgani Nani Waterbone, Lore Lindu, Rawa Aopa Watumohai National Parks, Gunung Klabat and Pengunungan Palu (4), which will hopefully offer its habitat some protection. However, further efforts to conserve forest on Sulawesi and Peleng are needed to ensure the blue-faced rail’s survival. Recommended measures include promoting more efficient agricultural practices, to help reduce pressure on the remaining natural habitat, developing greater community participation in forest management and conservation, and cancelling logging concessions within existing or proposed protected areas (10).Top
Find out more
Learn more about bird conservation:
Find out about conservation in Indonesia:
This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.