The Inaccessible Island Rail by Brett K

By November 19, 2017

Hello, today I will be talking about the Inaccessible Island rail. I picked this subject because it is a really interesting bird, and not many people know about it. The Inaccessible Island Rail is a bird that lives 1,750 miles off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa, on a place called the Inaccessible Island. This island is an extinct volcano, and its peak reaches to 1,473 feet. It is called the Inaccessible Island because it has 1,000 foot cliffs on every side and it is really hard to anchor a craft near it. It’s very small at only 5.4 square miles and sits in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean.

The Inaccessible Island rail is endemic to the island. You might be thinking, does it stay on the island or does it migrate? The answer is simple, no, it does not leave the island. The Inaccessible Island Rail is the smallest flightless bird in the world. They are 15-17cm long, about the size of a lovebird. Their diet consists mostly of insects and berries. Since there are no predators on the island, it has nothing to worry about. There are only about 8,400 left in the world, and they all live on the Inaccessible Island. If any rats, or cats, or other predators, get on this island, then there will be another extinct flightless bird, but for now they are still surviving.

The Inaccessible Island Rail was first thought to be a bird called an Island Hen. When G.H. Wilkins, a naturalist had already tried, but failed, to get a specimen of this bird, he gave Rev. Henry Martin Rogers, a Missionary Minister on the island, collecting materials, to get a specimen. This time though the effort was a  success, and he sent two birds that he had killed back to the British Museum in 1932. Strangely, this bird has three names: it is sometimes called Lowe’s rail, Atlantis rail, or Inaccessible Island Rail.



Author Aaron POTTER

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