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Alice Springs Waste Stabilisation Ponds

The Buff-banded Rail (Hypotaenidia philippensis) is a medium-sized stout rail with short legs. Distinctively coloured, with grey-white eyebrows. The lores, cheek and hindneck are rich chestnut, with grey chin and throat, the upperparts are streaked brown and the underparts barred black and white with an orange-brown band on the breast. It has reddish eyes.

Buff-banded Rail (Hypotaenidia philippensis), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds © Dorothy Latimer
Buff-banded Rail (Hypotaenidia philippensis), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds © Dorothy Latimer

The Buff-banded Rails walks slowly, with their tail raised and constantly flicking. They have an average size of about 31 cm.

They are omnivorous scavenger that feeds on a range of terrestrial invertebrates and small vertebrates, carrion, fallen fruit, seeds and other vegetable matter. Their nest is usually situated in dense grassy or reedy vegetation close to water.

This species comprises several subspecies found throughout much of Australasia and the south-west Pacific region, including the Philippines (where it is known as tikling), New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand (where it is known as the banded rail, or moho-pererū in Māori), and numerous smaller islands, covering a range of latitudes from the tropics to the subantarctic.1

The photographs presented here were taking over the years in the month of September and October.


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Informal: Gnathostomata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Gruiformes
  • Family: Rallidae
  • Subfamily: Rallinae
  • Genus: Hypotaenidia
  • Species: Hypotaenidia philippensis
  • Subspecies:
    • Hypotaenidia philippensis andrewsi (Mathews, 1911)
    • Hypotaenidia philippensis macquariensis (Hutton, 1879)
    • Hypotaenidia philippensis mellori (Mathews, 1912)
    • Hypotaenidia philippensis tounelieri (Schodde & de Naurois, 1982)

Footnote & References

  1. Hypotaenidia philippensis (Linnaeus, 1766), Buff-Banded Rail, Atlas of Living Australia, https://bie.ala.org.au/species/https://biodiversity.org.au/afd/taxa/1988c921-43bd-4390-b441-8abc4b26b477

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