The Aldabra Rail
Although we have been thinking for a long time to write in details about the residents of Aldabra, a recent post about a cute litte Aldabra rail chick on the SIF FB page made us feature these pictures in a blog post.
The Aldabra rail is believed to be the last surviving flightless bird in the western Indian Ocean, after the extinction of its distant relatives, the Mauritian dodo and the Rodrigues solitaire. It is the flightless subspecies of the white-throated rail (Dryolimnas cuvieri) or Cuvier's rail, from te family Rallidae. (Another subspecies was the D. c. abbotti (Assumption rail), from Assumpption, which went extinct in the early 20th century due to introduced predators.)
The Aldabra rail has a slender build, with a long neck, legs and feet. The plumage is chestnut coloured on the body and head, and white on the throat. The fairly long, straight bill is dark, with bright pink base at females, and dull or dark red base at males. Juveniles generally have darker plumage than adults. The wings are short and are often held close to the body. (Description from wikipeadia and Arkive.org)
Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland and mangrove forests.
A researcher at the Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF), Dr Janske van de Crommenacker was working on proving that the Aldabra rail is a separate species of bird endemic to Aldabra. She has extracted DNA from museum specimens of the three rail sub-species; Aldabra Rails, Assumption Rails and Madagascar Rails. Many of the samples date back to 100 years ago and were supplied by the Natural History Museum of London.
Aldabra rails previously became extinct on Picard due to the introduction of cats, and has been re- introduced from other islands of the atoll, Polymnie, Malabar and Ile aux Cedres in 2002.
Source: Seychelles News Agency