Zapornia palmeri Frohawk, 1892:247

Laysan rail, Laysan crake, Spotless crake



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Porzana palmeri Frohawk, 1892:247; Porzanula palmeri Frohawk, 1892:247


Conservation Status


Last record: 15 November 1943 (Sand islet); June 1944 (Eastern islet; Fisher & Baldwin, 1946)

IUCN RedList status: Extinct



Laysan Island, Hawaiian Islands, USA (see below)


Originally from Laysan Island, they were introduced to Sand and Eastern islets (both Midway Atoll) in 1891 and 1910 respectively (Day, 1981:92-93).


Biology & Ecology




[url=]RMNH 110.009[/url] (male)



Above: nest and eggs. Published in Fisher (1906). Source: Wikimedia Commons.


Above: chick in the nest. Published in Fisher (1906). Source: Wikimedia Commons.


Above: bird feeding on a seabird egg. Published in Fisher (1906). Source: Wikimedia Commons.


Above: a Laysan rail. Photo taken by Alfred M. Bailey in 1913. Source: Wikimedia Commons.




Original scientific description:

Frohawk, F. (1892). Description of a new species of rail from Laysan Island. Ann. and Mag. Nat. Hist. 9: 247-249.


Other references:

Bailey, A. M. (1956). Birds of Midway and Laysan Islands. Denver Museum Pictorial no. 12: Museum of Natural History.

Baldwin, Paul H. (1945). Fate of the Laysan Rail. Audubon Magazine 47: 343-348.

Baldwin, Paul H. (1947). [url=]The life history of the Laysan Rail[/url]. Condor 49(1): 14-21.

Baldwin, Paul H. (1949). The life history of the Laysan Rail. Condor 51(1): 14-21. [same publication as the above entry?]

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

BirdLife International. 2016. Zapornia palmeri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22692672A93363618. Accessed on 02 July 2022.

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.

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.

Fisher, H. I. and Baldwin, P. H. (1946). War and the birds of Midway atoll. Condor 48: 3-15.

Fisher, Walter K. (1903). Notes on the birds peculiar to Laysan Island, Hawaiian group. The Auk 20(4): 384-397.

Fisher, Walter K. (1906). Birds of Laysan and the Leeward Islands, Hawaiian Group.

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

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

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.

Hume, Julian Pender. (2017). Undescribed Juvenile Plumages of the Laysan Rail Or Crake ([i]Zapornia palmeri[/i]: Frohawk, 1892) and A Detailed Chronology of Its Extinction. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 129(3): 429-445. [Abstract]

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.

Jouanin, Christian. (1962). Inventaire des oiseaux éteints ou en voie d’extinction conservés au Muséum de Paris. Terre et Vie 109: 275-301.

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.

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

Munro, G. C. (1945). Endangered bird species of Hawaii. Elpaio 5(8): 50-51.

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

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.

Taylor, 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.

Wetmore, Alexander. (1925). Bird life among lava rock and coral sand. National Geographic Magazine 48: 77-108.


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