email a friend
printable version
New Guinea Flightless Rail Megacrex inepta
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

This enigmatic species is known from very few records over a wide range, and, although it is thought to be more abundant than data would indicate, it probably has a moderately small population, which is declining owing to hunting and habitat degradation. It consequently qualifies as Near Threatened.

Taxonomic source(s)
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.

Distribution and population
Megacrex inepta is endemic to the lowlands of central New Guinea (Papua, formerly Irian Jaya, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea). There are very few records, but it is reported to be locally common, especially where sago is harvested (Gregory 1996, Taylor and van Perlo 1998). Its population size is unknown, but it appears to be small. There is no evidence of a significant decline.

Trend justification
There are no data on population trends; however, deforestation and trapping are suspected to be causing a slow decline.

It inhabits lowland forest, especially wet thickets, swamp forest and mangroves.

Although flightless, it appears to be able to fight off attacks from dogs and to climb into trees to escape predators (Ripley 1964, Coates 1985). It is hunted in some areas, sometimes targeted specifically with sago lures, and it may be affected by feral pigs. Lowland forests across its range are under pressure from logging (K. D. Bishop in litt. 1994, P. Gregory in litt. 1994, Gregory 1996, Taylor and van Perlo 1998, T. Leary in litt. 2000).

Conservation Actions Underway
None is known. Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct field surveys and interviews in villages to better understand its distribution, population density and threats. Use awareness programmes to discourage hunting. Effectively protect large areas of lowland rainforest.

Coates, B. J. 1985. The birds of Papua New Guinea, 1: non-passerines. Dove, Alderley, Australia.

Delany, S.; Scott, D. 2006. Waterbird population estimates. Wetlands International, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Gregory, P. 1996. The New Guinea Flightless Rail (Megacrex inepta) in Gulf Province. Muruk 8(1): 38-39.

Ripley, S. D. 1964. A systematic and ecological study of birds of New Guinea. Bulletin of the Peabody Museum of Natural History 19: 1-87.

Taylor, B. 1998. Rails: a guide to the rails, crakes, gallinules and coots of the world. Pica Press, Robertsbridge, UK.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).

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
Benstead, P., Derhé, M., Dutson, G., Mahood, S., O'Brien, A.

Bishop, K., Gregory, P., Leary, T.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Megacrex inepta. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016.

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 Near Threatened
Family Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, Coots)
Species name author d'Albertis & Salvadori, 1879
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 89,600 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species