The Ruddy-breasted Crake Porzana fusca and Buff-banded Rail Gallirallus philippensis, two new rails for Lombok Island (Lesser Sundas, Indonesia)

The Ruddy-breasted Crake Porzana fusca and Buff-banded Rail Gallirallus philippensis, two new rails for Lombok Island (Lesser Sundas, Indonesia)

Deddy Darmawan1 and Muhammad Iqbal2*

1Muhammadiyah University of Mataram, Jl. KH. A. Dahlan No. 1 Pagesangan Mataram Nusa Tenggara Barat
2KPB-SOS, Jalan Tanjung api-api km 9 Komplek P & K Blok E1 Palembang 30152, Sumatera Selatan, Indonesia
*Corresponding author: Email:

Summary.  The Ruddy-breasted Crake Porzana fusca and Buff-banded Rail Gallirallus philippensis are found in adjacent islands of Wallacea, but the birds are not reported occur in Lombok island, Indonesia. During 12 June to 23 August 2014, one sighting of Ruddy-breasted Crake and three observations of Buff-banded Rail were recorded in Lombok. These are constitute first records for both species in the island.

On 12 June 2014, Deddy Darmawan (DD) was undertaking a bird survey in Batujai water dam (8°43'S, 116°16'E), Batujai village, Praya Barat subdistrict, Lombok Tengah district, Nusa Tenggara Barat province, Lombok  island, Indonesia. At 17h41 local time, he was observed two unusual rails for Lombok island based on his experiences or previously listed in Lombok island by Myers & Bushop (2005) (Red-legged Crake Rallina fasciata, Slaty-breasted Rail Gallirallus striatus, Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus, White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus, and White-browed Crake Porzana cinerea). The two birds were clearly rail. They had strong straight stout bill with an incipent frontal shield, a small rounded head with long neck and long body, a short tail and upturned when standing, wings longer than tail when folded, long legs and feet. Those gave it a general appearance to rail (Rallidae family). On 4 July 2014, DD show his photographs to Muhammad Iqbal (MI) who recognised the bird as Ruddy-breasted and Buff-banded Rail. At late afternoon on 19 July 2014, DD was observed again a rail species which idenitify as Buff-banded Rail at ricefield in Ampenan (8°34'S, 116°4'E), Mataram. On 23 August 2014, two adult and one immature seen in same area.


The first unusual rail observed on 12 June 2014 is a small bird with a bright chestnut-red head and breast to upper belly, finely black lower belly to undertail with narrow white barring, iris dark, dark bill and red legs (Figure 1). These are show characters of Ruddy-breasted Crake following various field guides and references (MacKinnon & Phillips 1993; Sonobe & Usui 1993; Taylor 1996; Taylor & Perlo 1998; Coates & Bishop 2000; Robson 2011). Misidentification could be possible with Red-legged Crake which have been listed for Lombok island,. The bird has no white barring marking on the wings such as Red-legged Crake, so it is ignored as this species.

Buff-banded Rail

After few minutes, second unusual rail on 12 June 2014 was appeared coming from the dense of marshes. The bird has head brown stripe from bill through eye to nape with pale grey supercilium, throat and foreneck grayish-white, back and wings streaked black and reddish-brown with mottled white, breast band buff, underparts barred black-and-white, bill reddish, iris red and legs pinkish grey (Sonobe & Usui 1993; Taylor 1996; Taylor & Perlo 1998; Coates & Bishop 2000; Pizzey & Knight 2007). The immature bird was observed on 23 August 2014 show similar pattern to adult, but duller, lack chestnut nape and having distinct buff breast (Figure 2). Contra with immature, buff breast band is absent in adult. The absence of buff breast band in adult show Lombok subspecies could be a typical of Philippines. A question mark on race of Buff Banded Rail in Sumba by some authors (eg. White & Bruce 1986, Coates & Bishop 2000) could be represent a possible subspecies. The Lombok and Sumba is approximately 300 kilometers, so the subspecies of both island could be very close.


Ruddy-breasted Crake is widely spread from Pakistan and India to China and Japan, south to Philippines and Sundas (Taylor 1996, Taylor & Perlo 1998). In Wallacea, Ruddy-breasted Crake subspecies P. f. fusca recorded in Sulawesi, Flores and one in Sumba (White & Bruce 1986, Coates & Bruce 2000). This species has not recorded yet from Lombok.

The Buff Banded Rail is found throughout much of Australasia and th south-west pacific region, including the Philippines, Indonesia, New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand (Taylor 1996). The bird is apparently a rare vagrant in Borneo where it first reported in 2004 (Myers 2009), but since that year the records have increased including breeding record from West Kalimantan (Udin & Qadrie 2012), suggesting that this species overlooked in the Borneo in the past. It is comprises possibly as many as 22 subspecies (Taylor 1996), and there have four subspecies occur in Wallacea: G. p. Philippensis (Sulawesi, Butung, Buru, possible Sumba, Alor, Sawu, Roti and Timor), G. r. wilkinsoni (Flores), G. r. xerophilus (Gunungapi), and G. r. yorki (Buru, Ambon, Seram, Seram Laut, Halmahera, Taymandu and Kai). Although this species is widespread on the neighbouring islands of the Wallacea or Lesser Sundas, but it is not recorded yet in Lombok island.

The records of Ruddy-breasted Crake and Buff Banded Rail in Lombok island are constitute first records for the island. The bird possible overlooked in the past, by lacking number of observers. Recently, the number of local birdwatchers and wildlife photographers are increase in Lombok island, so good records and good documentations could have been possible. Pay attention should be given to Buff Banded Rail, on possibility represent distinct subspecies for Lombok and or also Sumba island. When the bird is caught, further measurements must be taken for an examination.
We are very grateful to Guy Dutson, Richard Loyn and two reviewers who suggested and provided comments which improved manuscript.


Coates, B. & Bishop, K. (2000). Burung-burung di kawasan Wallacea. Dove Publication/BirdLife International Indonesia Programme, Bogor.
MacKinnon, J. & Phillipps, K. (1993). A Field Guide to the Birds of Borneo, Sumatra, Java and Bali. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Myers, S. (2009). A Field Guide to the Birds of Borneo. New Holland Publishers, London.
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Pizzey, G. & Knight, F. (2007). The field guide to the birds of Australia. 8th edition. HarperCollinsPublishers, Sydney.
Sonobe, K. & Usui, S. (eds). (1993). A field guide to the Waterbirds of Asia. Wild Bird Society of Japan, Tokyo.
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Taylor, B. & Perlo, B.V. (1998). Rails: A Guide to the Rails, Crakes, Gallinules and Coots of the World. Pica Press, UK.
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White, C.M.N. & Bruce, M.D. (1986). The Birds of Wallacea (Sulawesi, the Mollucas & Lesser Sunda Islands, Indonesia): An annotated checklist. British Ornithologists’ Union Checklist 7. Tring, UK.

Figure 1. Ruddy-breasted Crake searching food on 12 June 2014 in Batujai water dam, Lombok island (Photo: Deddy Darmawan).
Figure 2. Adult and immature Buff-banded Rail on 23 June 2014 at ricefield in Ampenan, Mataram, Lombok island (Photo: Deddy Darmawan).

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