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Dieffenbach's Rail Hypotaenidia dieffenbachii
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This species was found on the Chatham Islands, New Zealand, but was driven to extinction by the depredations of introduced species. The type material was collected in 1840, and it was Extinct by 1872.

Taxonomic source(s)
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.
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

Taxonomic note
Hypotaenidia dieffenbachii (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) was previously placed in the genus Gallirallus.

Gallirallus dieffenbachii (Gray, 1843)

Distribution and population
Gallirallus dieffenbachii was endemic to Chatham, Mangere and Pitt Islands, New Zealand (Marchant and Higgins 1993). It is known from the type, in Tring (Knox and Walters 1994), with one other specimen reported to be in Bremen (Greenway 1967), and from abundant subfossil material (Tennyson and Millener 1994). The species was already scarce when the type was collected in 1840, and was extinct by 1872 (Marchant and Higgins 1993).

Nothing is known, though it may have inhabited scrub or forest.

Its extinction was presumably due to predation by introduced rats, cats and dogs, and habitat loss from fire (Marchant and Higgins 1993).

Greenway, J. C. 1967. Extinct and vanishing birds of the world. Dover Publications, New York.

Knox, A. G.; Walters, M. P. 1994. Extinct and endangered birds in the collections of the Natural History Museum. British Ornithologists' Club, Tring, U.K.

Marchant, S.; Higgins, P. J. 1993. Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic birds, 2: raptors to lapwings. Oxford University Press, Melbourne.

Scarlett, R. J. 1979. Letters. Notornis 26: 99.

Tennyson, A. J. D.; Millener, P. R. 1994. Bird extinctions and fossil bones from Mangere Island, Chatham Islands. Notornis (supplement) 41: 165-78.

Trewick, S. A. 1997. Flightlessness and phylogeny amongst endemic rails (Aves: Rallidae) of the New Zealand region. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 352: 429-446.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Brooks, T., Khwaja, N., Mahood, S.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Hypotaenidia dieffenbachii. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Extinct
Family Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, Coots)
Species name author (Gray, 1843)
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species