Species Profile and Threats Database

For information to assist proponents in referral, environmental assessments and compliance issues, refer to the Policy Statements and Guidelines (where available), the Conservation Advice (where available) or the Listing Advice (where available).
In addition, proponents and land managers should refer to the Recovery Plan (where available) or the Conservation Advice (where available) for recovery, mitigation and conservation information.

EPBC Act Listing Status Listed as Extinct as Lewinia pectoralis clelandi
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans
Federal Register of
    Legislative Instruments
Declaration under s178, s181, and s183 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 - List of threatened species, List of threatened ecological communities and List of threatening processes (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000) [Legislative Instrument] as Rallus pectoralis clelandi.
List of Migratory Species (13/07/2000) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000b) [Legislative Instrument] as Rallus pectoralis clelandi.
Amendment to the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (72) (15/12/2008) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2008k) [Legislative Instrument] as Lewinia pectoralis clelandi.
List of Migratory Species - Amendment to the list of migratory species under section 209 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (26/11/2013) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2013af) [Legislative Instrument] as Rallus pectoralis clelandi.
State Listing Status
WA: Listed as Presumed Extinct (Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 (Western Australia): September 2013 list) as Rallus pectoralis clelandi
Non-statutory Listing Status
NGO: Listed as Extinct (The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2010)
Scientific name Lewinia pectoralis clelandi [82446]
Family Rallidae:Gruiformes:Aves:Chordata:Animalia
Species author  
Infraspecies author (Mathews,1911)
Other names Rallus pectoralis clelandi [26200]
Distribution map Species Distribution Map not available for this taxon.
Illustrations Google Images

Scientific name: Lewinia pectoralis clelandi

Common name: Lewin's Rail (western)

Other names: Lewin's Water Rail (western)

Lewinia pectoralis clelandi is a conventionally accepted subspecies of Lewinia pectoralis (Johnstone & Storr 1998; Marchant & Higgins 1993).

The Lewin's Rail (western) was a stout rail with a long, slender bill. The top of its head was chestnut or rufous with heavy black streaking, and the cheeks and throat were grey. The neck was chestnut with heavy black streaks, concolorous with the top of the head, while the rest of the upperbody was streaked black and olive-brown. The throat and breast were grey, and the belly, flanks and undertail were black with white or buff barring. The wings were dark brown with narrow white and olive-brown barring above, and brownish-grey below. The bill was pinkish with a dusky tip and the eyes were usually brown, reddish-brown or red. The legs and feet were grey with a pinkish tinge (Johnstone & Storr 1998; Marchant & Higgins 1993).

The Lewin's Rail (western) is extinct, but formerly occurred in far south-west Western Australia, from Margaret River to Albany, and inland to Bridgetown (Marchant & Higgins 1993; Storr 1991; Storr & Johnstone 1998; Whittell 1933). It was last recorded in 1932 (Whittell 1933).

During an intensive survey of 197 wetlands in south-west Western Australia between 1981 and 1985, no Lewin's Rail (western) were recorded (Jaensch et al. 1988). Furthermore, none have been recorded during the thousands of Atlas surveys conducted in south-west Western Australia between 1977 and 1981, and between 1998 and 2002 (Barrett et al. 2003; Blakers et al. 1984).

The former range of the Lewin's Rail (western) was apparently small (Johnstone & Storr 1998).

The Lewin's Rail (western) declined to extinction, and was last seen in 1932 (Garnett & Crowley 2000).

The Lewin's Rail (western) inhabited swamps (Whittell 1933). Other subspecies inhabit dense fringing or emergent vegetation of various permanent or ephemeral wetlands with fresh, brackish or saline water (Marchant & Higgins 1993). Some also occasionally occur away from wetlands, such as grasslands, or in the undergrowth below coastal scrub (Milledge 1972a).

The Lewin's Rail (western) was not recorded using refuge habitats, though it is reasonable to expect that during prolonged droughts that the population would have been confined to a few permanent wetlands (Garnett & Crowley 2000).

Little is known of the sexual maturity, life expectancy and natural mortality of this extinct subspecies, nor of other subspecies, due to the cryptic and secretive nature of the species (Olsen et al. 1990; Patterson 1989).

Data is deficient in regards to the food items taken by Lewin's Rail (western). Other subspecies usually eat invertebrates such as worms, molluscs, crustaceans and insects, and occasionally vertebrates, such as frogs, and birds' eggs (Barker & Vestjens 1990; Jaensch 1987; Johnstone 1989; Leicester 1960).

The Lewin's Rail (western) became extinct due to the modification of its wetland habitats, especially through drainage for agriculture and settlement (Garnett & Crowley 2000; Serventy 1948), as well as being burnt for conversion to farmland (Garnett & Crowley 2000).

The following table lists known and perceived threats to this species. Threats are based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) threat classification version 1.1.

Threat Class Threatening Species References
Uncategorised:Uncategorised:threats not specified Rallus pectoralis clelandiin Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006wl) [Internet].

Barker, R.D. & W.J.M. Vestjens (1990). The Food of Australian Birds. 2. Passerines. Melbourne, Victoria: CSIRO.

Barrett, G., A. Silcocks, S. Barry, R. Cunningham & R. Poulter (2003). The New Atlas of Australian Birds. Melbourne, Victoria: Birds Australia.

Blakers, M., S.J.J.F. Davies & P.N. Reilly (1984). The Atlas of Australian Birds. Melbourne, Victoria: Melbourne University Press.

Garnett, S.T. & G.M. Crowley (2000). The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2000. [Online]. Canberra, ACT: Environment Australia and Birds Australia. Available from:

Jaensch, R.P. (1987). Lewin's Rail breeding near Little Dip. South Australian Ornithologist. 30:78.

Jaensch, R.P., R.M. Vervest & M.J. Hewish (1988). Waterbirds in nature reserves of south-western Australia 1981-1985: reserve accounts. RAOU Report Series. 30.

Johnstone, J. (1989). Some notes on Lewin's Rail. Australian Bird Watcher. 13:70-71.

Johnstone, R.E. & G.M. Storr (1998). Handbook of Western Australian Birds. Vol. 1: Non-passerines (Emu to Dollarbird). Perth, Western Australia: West Australian Museum.

Leicester, M. (1960). Some notes on the Lewin Rail. Emu. 60:20-24.

Marchant, S. & P.J. Higgins, eds. (1993). Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. Volume 2 - Raptors to Lapwings. Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press.

Milledge, D. (1972a). The birds of Maatsuyker Island, Tasmania. Emu. 72:167-170.

Olsen, P., S.J.S. Debus, G.V. Czechura & N.J. Mooney (1990). Comparative feeding ecology of the Grey Goshawk Accipiter novaehollandiae and Brown Goshawk A. fasciatus. Australian Bird Watcher. 13:178-192.

Patterson, R.M. (1989). Bird observations - systematic list. Tasmanian Bird Report. 18:53-77.

Serventy, D.L. (1948). The birds of the Swan River district, Western Australia. Emu. 47:241-286.

Storr, G.M. (1991). Birds of the South-west Division of Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum. Suppl. 35.

Storr, G.M. & R.E. Johnstone (1998). Handbook of Western Australian Birds. Volume 1 - Non-passerines (Emu to Dollarbird). Perth, Western Australia: Western Australian Museum.

Whittell, H.M. (1933). The birds of the Bridgetown District, south-west Australia. Emu. 32:182-189.

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This database is designed to provide statutory, biological and ecological information on species and ecological communities, migratory species, marine species, and species and species products subject to international trade and commercial use protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). It has been compiled from a range of sources including listing advice, recovery plans, published literature and individual experts. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, no guarantee is given, nor responsibility taken, by the Commonwealth for its accuracy, currency or completeness. The Commonwealth does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this database. The information contained in this database does not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth. This database is not intended to be a complete source of information on the matters it deals with. Individuals and organisations should consider all the available information, including that available from other sources, in deciding whether there is a need to make a referral or apply for a permit or exemption under the EPBC Act.

Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Lewinia pectoralis clelandi in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Mon, 15 Sep 2014 15:24:12 +1000.