The Recently Extinct Plants and Animals Database

Zapornia sandwichensis Gmelin, 1789:717

Hawaiian rail, Hawaiian crake, Sandwich rail



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Porzana sandwichensis Gmelin, 1789:717; Porzana sandwichensis sandwichensis Gmelin, 1789:717; Pennula sandwichensis Gmelin, 1789:717; Rallus sandwichensis Gmelin, 1789:717; Pennula wilsoni Finsch, 1898:77; Porzana millsi (Dole, 1878:54); Porzana sandwichensis millsi Gmelin, 1789:717; Porzana millei (Dole, 1878:54); Pennula millei (Dole, 1878:54); Pennula ecaudata Wilson & Evans, 1894:171


Sometimes considered as two different subspecies ([i]sandwichensis[/i] and [i]millsi[/i]) (e.g. Hume & Walters, 2012:103-104), [i]millsi[/i] is considered a synonym by (Taylor, 1998), a taxonomic opinion followed here.


Conservation Status

Last record: 1860's (1864 or later; Hume & Walters, 2012:103-104); 1884 (Rothschild, 1907)

IUCN RedList status: Extinct



Hawaiian Islands, USA


Biology & Ecology




There are seven extant museum specimens (Olson, 1999).


[b]Syntype:[/b] [url=]RMNH 87450[/url]






Original scientific description:

Gmelin, Johann Friedrich (1789). [Description of Porzana sandwichensis]. In: Systema Naturae per regna tria naturae secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis (13th ed.) 1, part II: 717. Georg Emanuel Beer, Lipsiae [Leipzig]


Other references:

BirdLife International. (2012). Zapornia sandwichensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. ( Downloaded on 26 July 2014.

Ehrlich, Paul R., Dobkin, David S. and Wheye, Darryl. (1992). Birds in Jeopardy: The Imperiled and Extinct Birds of the United States and Canada, Including Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. 259 pp.

Elphick, Chris S., Roberts, David L. and Reed, J. Michael. (2010). Estimated dates of recent extinctions for North American and Hawaiian birds. Biological Conservation 143: 617-624.

Finsch, O. (1898). On the so-called "Sandwich Rail" in the Leiden Museum. Notes of the Leyden Museum 20: 77-80.

Fuller, Errol. (1988). Extinct Birds. New York: Facts on File Publications. 256 pp.

Greenway, J. C. (1967). Extinct and Vanishing Birds of the World. New York: Dover Publications.

Henshaw, H. W. (1903). Birds of the Hawaiian Islands. Being a complete list of the birds of the Hawaiian Possessions with notes on their habits. Honolulu: Thos G. Thrum.

Hume, Julian Pender and Walters, Michael. (2012). Extinct Birds. London: T & AD Poyser.

Jansen, Justin J. F. J. and Roe, Richard S. (2013). Tracking Cook’s third voyage (1776–79) Hawaiian Rails [i]Porzana sandwichensis[/i], with some comments on their type status. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 133(1): 59-67.

Latham, J. A. (1871-85). General synopsis of birds, volume 2. London: J. Van Voorst.

Manning, A. (1982). Hawaiian and Laysan Rails: S. B. Dole corresponds with A. Agassiz. Elpaio 42: 87.

Olson, Storrs L. (1999). Laysan Rail (Porzana palmeri), Hawaiian Rail (Porzana sandwichensis). The birds of North America Number 426.

Olson, Stors L. and James, Helen F. (1991). Descriptions of thirty-two new species of birds from the Hawaiian Islands: Part 1. Non-passeriformes. Ornithological Monographs 45: 1-88.

Pease, W. H. (1862). Notice of a wingless bird or moho, and a raven found in the island of Hawaii. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 30(1): 145.

Perkins, R. C. L. (1903). Vertebrata, pp. 365-466. In: Sharp, D. (ed.). Fauna Hawaiiensis or the zoology of the Sandwich (Hawaiian) Islands. Volume 1, part 4. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Roberts, D. L. and Jarić, I. (2016). Inferring extinction in North American and Hawaiian birds in the presence of sighting uncertainty. PeerJ 4: e2426.

Slikas, Beth, Olson, Storrs L. and Fleischer, Robert C. (2002). Rapid, independent evolution of flightlessness in four species of Pacific Island rails (Rallidae): an analysis based on mitochondrial sequence data. Journal of Avian Biology 33: 5-14.

Stresemann, Erwin. (1950). Birds collected during Capt. James Cook's last expedition (1776-1780). Auk 67(1): 66-88.

Taylor, B. (1998). Rails: a guide to the rails, crakes, gallinules and coots of the world. Pica Press, Robertsbridge, UK.

Wilson, S. and Evans, A. H. (1890-99). Aves Hawaiiensis: the birds of the Sandwich Islands. London: R. H. Porter.


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