Sarothruridae – Flufftails
The Sarothruridae is a family of small to medium sized ground-living birds found in Madagascar and sub-Saharan Africa. The family contains just 2 genera. Until recently the two genera were treated as separate families.
They are highly secretive and seldom observed. Two species, the Buff-spotted Flufftail and the White-spotted Flufftail, are inhabitants of dense forests, while the remaining species are found in deep grasslands and marshes. One species, the Streaky-breasted Flufftail, is known to be migratory. It is uncertain whether other species are as well; the White-winged Flufftail may breed in Ethiopia and winter in South Africa but this is not known for certain.
The breeding behaviour of the flufftails has not been observed for many species, although some certainly breed in the wet season. All species are highly vocal during the breeding season, with repertoires including duets. In the Madagascar Flufftail the courtship behaviour consists of duetting, nest building (which is undertaken by the male), nest visits by the female, and copulation. Flufftails build domed nests; the nest of the Madagascar Flufftail is positioned high above the ground in vines, and the nest of the White-winged Flufftail is placed in reeds over waterlogged ground. The eggs of all the species that have been studied are white, unlike most rails. The chicks are covered in black down at birth and have a slightly coloured bill; adult plumage is quickly attained in most species. Both parents care for the chicks.
According to the IOC there are 12 species in two genera of sarothruridae which are:
Grey-throated Rail Canirallus oculeus
Madagascan Wood Rail Canirallus kioloides
Tsingy Wood Rail Canirallus beankaensis
White-spotted Flufftail Sarothrura pulchra
Buff-spotted Flufftail Sarothrura elegans
Red-chested Flufftail Sarothrura rufa
Chestnut-headed Flufftail Sarothrura lugens
Streaky-breasted Flufftail Sarothrura boehmi
Striped Flufftail Sarothrura affinis
Madagascan Flufftail Sarothrura insularis
White-winged Flufftail Sarothrura ayresi
Slender-billed Flufftail Sarothrura watersi
Grey-throated Rail Canirallus oculeusSpecies AccountThe grey-throated rail (Canirallus oculeus) is a species of bird in the family Sarothruridae.
Grey-throated Rail Canirallus oculeusIUCN Species StatusGrey-throated Rail Canirallus oculeus has most recently been assessed for The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in 2016. Canirallus oculeus is listed as Least Concern.
Grey-throated Rail Canirallus oculeusSpecies AccountSound archive and distribution map.
Madagascan Wood Rail Canirallus kioloidesSpecies AccountThe Madagascan wood rail (Canirallus kioloides), also known as the kioloides rail, is a species of bird in the family Sarothruridae. It is endemic to forests, often in wet areas, in northern and eastern Madagascar. Until the description of the Tsingy wood rail, it was the only species of Canirallus in Madagascar.
Madagascan Wood Rail Canirallus kioloidesIUCN Species StatusMadagascar Wood-rail Mentocrex kioloides has most recently been assessed for The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in 2021. Mentocrex kioloides is listed as Least Concern.
Madagascan Wood Rail Canirallus kioloidesSpecies AccountSound archive and distribution map.
Red-chested Flufftail Sarothrura rufaSpecies AccountThe red-chested flufftail (Sarothrura rufa) is a species of bird in the family Sarothruridae. It is found in Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Red-chested Flufftail Sarothrura rufaIUCN Species StatusRed-chested Flufftail Sarothrura rufa has most recently been assessed for The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in 2016. Sarothrura rufa is listed as Least Concern.
Red-chested Flufftail Sarothrura rufaSpecies AccountSound archive and distribution map.
Tsingy Wood Rail Canirallus beankaensisBirdLife Species AccountThis species has a very small range, and is experiencing a continuing decline in habitat quality through conversion for agricultural practices. It has therefore been classified as Vulnerable.
Tsingy Wood Rail Canirallus beankaensisSpecies AccountThe Tsingy wood rail (Canirallus beankaensis) is a species of bird in the family Sarothruridae that only was scientifically described in 2011.
Tsingy Wood Rail Canirallus beankaensisIUCN Species StatusTsingy Wood-rail Mentocrex beankaensis has most recently been assessed for The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in 2021. Mentocrex beankaensis is listed as Vulnerable under criteria B1ab(iii).
Tsingy Wood Rail Canirallus beankaensisSpecies AccountSound archive and distribution map.
Number of bird species: 12