Bird of the week – Buff-banded Rail Gallirallus philippensis


The Buff-banded Rail is a medium-sized bird. It is usually seen walking between plants that are growing on the edges of wetlands. It is mostly silent but shrieks in the breeding season.

What the Buff-banded Rail looks like


The Buff-banded Rail is 28-33 cm in length. It has streaked brown upperparts and striped black and white underparts. It has a red-brown head with a grey eyebrow and a red-brown band on its breast.  It has a brown beak, red eyes and light brown legs and feet.

Where the Buff-banded Rail lives


The Buff-banded Rail lives in coastal Australia. It also lives in south-east Asia, New Guinea and New Zealand. It is found in thick plants growing around swamps and lagoons.

What the Buff-banded Rail eats


The Buff-banded Rail eats insects, molluscs, seeds, fruits and some plants. It pecks its food from damp ground.

How the Buff-banded Rail breeds

Blog_BW19e_P1160568 Buff-banded Rails breed in pairs and shriek to announce their territories.

The adults breed from spring to summer.

The female lays five to eight (sometimes up to eleven) eggs in a cup-shaped nest of grasses or water plants in a swamp. The adults take turns to sit on the eggs to keep them warm.

The chicks hatch after two and a half weeks.

The chicks are cared for by their parents for some time after hatching. They grow into breeding adults.


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