Lewinia pectoralis ssp. exsul (Hartert)

Flores Lewin’s Rail (Lewinia pectoralis ssp. exsul)

Lewin’s Rail shows a strange distributional pattern suggesting that today’s populations may be relict populations; alternatively, the species could also be split into three geographically isolated species. One would be restricted to Australia, a second one to New Guinea, and finally the third one to the so-called Wallacea, where it is only known from the island of Flores.

The Flores form, described in 1898 and still regarded a subspecies of Lewin’s Rail, can be distinguished from the Australian nominate race (see photo below) by several characters including its rufous crown that shows only few black streaks as well as by its chin and upper throat being distinctly white instead of grey.

The latest known record for the Flores Lewin’s Rail is 1974 when a juvenile male was shot on the eastern shore of Lake Sano Nggoang, a crater lake in the west of Flores; the taxon might now be extinct.


Photo: Kerry Vickers



[1] Colin R. Trainor; Philippe Verbelen: Lewin’s Rail Lewinia pectoralis exsul on Flores, Indonesia: its history, status and where to look for it. BirdingASIA 26: 47-52. 2016


edited: 17.02.2024