Gallirallus wakensis (Rothschild, 1903:78)

Wake Island rail



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Rallus wakensis (Rothschild, 1903:78); Hypotaenidia wakensis Rothschild, 1903:78 (original combination)


Conservation Status


Last record: 1945 (Hume & Walters, 2012:89)

IUCN RedList status: Extinct



Wake Island & Wilkes Island, United States Minor Outlying Islands, USA


Biology & Ecology







Above: photo scanned from (Grooch, 1936) by Frank Godino. Source: Wikimedia Commons.



Original scientific description:

Rothschild, Walter. (1903). Hypotaenidia wakensis n. sp. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 13(99): 78.


Other references:

Bailey, A. M. 1951a. Notes on the birds of Midway and Wake islands. Wilson Bulletin 63:35–37.

Bailey, A. M. 1951b. Wake Island observations. Pages 47–62. in Stepping stones across the Pacific. Bailey, A. M. and R. J. Niedrach. Museum Pictorial 3. Denver Museum of Natural History. Denver, Colorado, USA.

BirdLife International. (2012a). Gallirallus wakensis. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. ( Downloaded on 17 March 2013.

BirdLife International. (2012b). Hypotaenidia wakensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. ( Downloaded on 31 August 2014.

BirdLife International. 2016. Hypotaenidia wakensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22692447A93354203. Downloaded on 27 June 2021.

Brooks, T. 2000. Extinct species. In: BirdLife International (ed.), Threatened Birds of the World, pp. 701-708. Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, Barcelona and Cambridge, U.K.

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

Fuller, Errol. 1987. Extinct birds Viking/Rainbird, [London, United Kingdom].

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

Fuller, Errol. 2001. Extinct birds. Revised Edition. Comstock Publishing Associates. Ithaca, New York, USA.

Fuller, Errol. (2013). Lost Animals: Extinction and the Photographic Record. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Greenway, J. C. Jnr. (1958). Extinct and vanishing birds of the world. Special Publication 13. American Committee for International Wild Life Protection. New York, USA.

Greenway, James C. Jnr. (1967). Extinct and vanishing birds of the world, second edition. New York: Dover Publications.

Greenway, J. C. Jnr. (1973). Type specimens of birds in the American Museum of Natural History. Part I. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 150: 207-346.

Grooch, W. S. (1936). Skyway to Asia. New York: Longmans, Green and Co. 205 pp.

Hartert, E. 1927. Types of birds in the Tring Museum. B. Types in the general collection. VIII. Novitates Zoologicae 34 (1):1–38.

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

Iwaniuk, Andrew N. et al. (2004). A comparative test of the correlated evolution of flightlessness and relative brain size in birds. J. Zool, Land. 263: 317-327.

Kaucher, D. 1947. Wings over Wake. John Howell. San Francisco, California, USA. [relevant citation?]

King, W. B. 1973. Conservation status of birds of central Pacific islands. Wilson Bulletin 85:89–103.

Kirchman, J. J. 2009. Genetic tests of rapid parallel speciation of flightless birds from an extant volant ancestor. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 96:601–616. [relevant citation?]

Knox, Alan G. and Walters, Michael P. (1994). Extinct and endangered birds in the collections of The Natural History Museum. British Ornithologists' Club Occasional Publications 1: 1-292.

Mayr, E. 1949. Notes on the birds of northern Melanesia. 2. American Museum Novitates 1417:1–38. [relevant citation?]

Olson, Storrs L. (1996). History and ornithological journals of the Tanager Expedition of 1923 to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, Johnston and Wake islands. Atoll Research Bulletin 433: 1-210.

Olson, Storrs L. (1999). Laysan Rail (Porzana palmeri), Hawaiian Rail (Porzana sandwichensis). In: Poole, A. (ed). The Birds of North America. Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Olson, Storrs L. and Rauzon, Mark J. (2011). The extinct Wake Island Rail Gallirallus wakensis: a comprehensive species account based on museum specimens and archival records. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 123(4): 663-689. [Abstract]

Rauzon, M. J., D. Boyle, W. T. Everett, and J. Gilardi. 2008. The status of the birds of Wake Atoll. Atoll Research Bulletin 561:1–41.

Ripley, S. D. 1977. Rails of the world: a monograph of the family Rallidae. David R. Godine. Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Slikas, B., S. L. Olson, and R. C. Fleischer. 2002. Rapid independent evolution of flightlessness in four species of Pacfic island rails (Rallidae), an analysis based on mitochondrial sequence data. Journal of Avian Biology 33: 5-14.

Spencer, H. J. (1959). Wake Island Rail Rallus wakensis. Single unnumbered page, part of a larger report on birds of Wake Island based on observations made in 1936-1937, with cover letter dated 20 August 1959 Smithsonian Institution Archives, Wetmore Papers, Accession 11-163. [citation copied from (Olson & Razuon, 2011)]

Steadman, David W. (2006). Extinction and Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Taylor, P. B. 1996. Family Rallidae (rails, gallinules and coots). Pages 108–209. in Handbook of the birds of the world. Volume 3. Hoatzin to auks. del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott, and J. Sargatal. Editors. Lynx Edicions. Barcelona, Spain.

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

Tyrberg, Tommy. (2009). Holocene avian extinctions, pp. 63-106. In: Turvey, Samuel T. (ed.). Holocene Extinctions. Oxford, UK & New York, USA: Oxford University Press. xii + 352 pp.

Vaughn, C. 1945. Observations on the birds of Wake Island. Migrant [Tennessee Ornithological Society] 16:26–28.

Wetmore, Alexander. (1970). Wake Island Rail Rallus wakensis (Rothschild). Unpublished 5-page manuscript Smithsonian Institution Archives, Wetmore Papers Accession 11-163. [citation copied from (Olson & Razuon, 2011)]

Wilkes, C. 1844. Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition. During the years 1838, 1839, 1840, 1841, 1842. Volume 5. C. Sherman Publishers. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. [relevant citation?]


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