Slaty-breasted rail

   ›      ›   Slaty-breasted rail - Lewinia striata.

The slaty-breasted rail (Lewinia striata) belonging to the family Rallidae, is a water bird, inhabiting wetlands, mangroves and marshes. These rail species are distributed in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. These Lewinia sp. are also distributed in east and southeast Asian countries. Earlier these Lewinia rail species have been placed under genus Rallus, Gallirallus or Hypotaenidia.

Taxonomy of Slaty-breasted rail

  • Scientific Name: Lewinia striata
  • Common Name: Slaty-breasted rail
  • French: Râle strié; German: Graubrustralle; Spanish: Rascón rufigrís;
  • Other names: Gallirallus striatus (Linnaeus, 1766); Rallus striatus;
  • Family: Rallidae › Gruiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Species author: (Linnaeus, 1766)
The eight recognized Lewinia striata subspecies are: Lewinia striata albiventer, Lewinia striata obscurior, Lewinia striata nicobariensis, Lewinia striata jouyi, L. s. taiwana, L. s. gularis, L. s. striata and Lewinia striata paraterma.
Indian birds - Slaty-breasted rail - Lewinia striata
Slaty-breasted rail - Lewinia striata
Indian birds - Slaty-breasted rail - Lewinia striata
Slaty-breasted rail - Lewinia striata


The slaty-breasted rail are small birds measuring 20 to 30 cm in length and weighing 100 to 140 grams. Both male and female look alike. The breast region and legs are steel colored. The head, nape brownish pink. The beak is pinkish. The irises in both male and female of Lewinia species are reddish brown. The back is speckled white and gray. Their call is a repeated “ka-ka-ka” and also repeated sharp “kerrek” sound.


These Lewinia rail species inhabits marshes, wetlands, reed-marsh, dense scrub jungles with water sources and mangroves.

Feeding habits

The slaty-breasted rail feeds on marsh vegetation, seeds, shoots, berries, mollusks, worms, spiders, insect larvae and a variety of insects including ants, grasshoppers and beetles.


These Lewinia rail species breed during southwest monsoon (June to September) in India. The subspecies of the rail have varied breeding seasons with respect to weather and rains in their distributed regions.


The slaty-breasted rail subspecies Lewinia s. albiventer is distributed in India, Sri Lanka, Southcentral China and Thailand. Some populations move to Southern Thailand and Malaysia for wintering. The subspecies L. s. obscurior is distributed in Andaman Islands of India. The Slaty-breasted rail subspecies Lewinia s. nicobariensis is distributed in Nicobar Islands. L. s. jouyi is distributed in Southeast China and Hainan Islands. L. s. taiwana occurs in Taiwan. L. s. gularis is distributed in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia. The subspecies L. s. striata is distributed in Philippines, Sulawesi Islands in Indonesia and some parts of Malaysia. Lewinia s. paraterma occurs in Samar Islands in Philippines.

Movement Patterns

The slaty-breasted rail is mostly resident in its range and in some regions, in some rail populations, there may be southward movements during winter.

Status and conservation

The slaty-breasted rail global population size has not been quantified and there appears to be a steady increase in the population. Habitat loss, increased human activities in the wetlands are the main threats to the survival of these Lewinia rail species.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these slaty-breasted rail species and has listed them as of "Least Concern".

Biological classification of Lewinia striata
Species:L. striata
Binomial name:Lewinia striata
Distribution:Indian subcontinent, Indo-China region and southeast Asia;
Feeding habits:feeds on seeds, grass, shoots of marsh plants, seeds, invertebrates, insects and worms;
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern

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