African Rail ( Rallus caerulescens, family: Rallidae)

african rail kruger national park birds The African Rail (Latin name Rallus caerulescens) is described in Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition. This bird has a unique Roberts number of 210 and you will find a full description of this bird on page 323 also a picture of the African Rail on page 305. The African Rail belongs to the family of birds classified as Rallidae. According to the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology the African Rail is also known by these other names: African Water Rail, Water Rail, Cape Rail.

The map of the Kruger you see on this page shows the areas (coloured orange) where this bird has been identified. The basic information was provided by the Avian Demographic Unit based at UCT and I created the maps from that information ... the green dots show the locations of the various Kruger National Park Rest Camps

The African Rail is neither Endemic or near Endemic to the Kruger National Park.

In terms of distribution of the African Rail in the Kruger National Park you may not see it in all areas. African Rail : see above distribution map.

African Rail Kruger National Park BirdsIdentification assistance for this avian species ...

The African Rail is a bird about the same size as a starling. The height of the African Rail is about 28 cms and its weight is about 180 gms

You will find that the male African Rail plumage and colours are different to that of the female African Rail

  • Head is grey.
  • Eye is brown.
  • Bill is red.
  • Throat is white.
  • Back is grey.
  • Legs are red.

This bird has normally proportioned leg length.

Main diet items for this bird ...

The African Rail feeds on the ground and in or around water mainly



Aquatic life forms

Breeding and nesting habits for this bird ...

The African Rail is monogamous unless its mate dies. In the event of a partner dying Rallus caerulescens will seek out a new mate

The nesting habit of African Rail is to create the nest on water. The bird lays eggs which are white in colour and number between 2 to 6

Habitat and flocking behaviour for this bird ...

The preferred habitats for African Rail are: wetlands

You will not see African Rail in flocks. The bird prefers to act singly or in pairs.

Names of this avian species in other languages ...

Xhosa ... Unknown

Zulu ... isiZinzi

Afrikaans ...Grootriethaan

German ... Kapralle

Portuguese ... Frango-d'gua-africano

French ... Rle bleutre

Dutch ... Afrikaanse Waterral

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For in-depth birding information please refer to these authoritative avian references ...

Robert's 7th edition number ... 210

The main reference source for this data was "Roberts - Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition" . Other references were "Newmans Birds of the Kruger Park" by Keith Newman published circa 1980 . Names in foreign languages were obtained from the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town website ,