May 16, 2016 – Guam Rail or Ko‘ko‘ (Gallirallus owstoni)

Requested by: @birdies-be-free

Native only to the Pacific island of Guam, these rails have been wiped out in their original range. Secretive and nearly flightless, they can run silently through grasses and underbrush and swim and dive well. They are omnivorous, eating fish, lizards, invertebrates, fruits, seeds, and leaves, foraging mostly at dawn and dusk. Breeding year-round, they build shallow nests on the ground from grasses and leaves and can lay as many as 10 clutches of eggs a year. Chicks leave the nest about a day after hatching and are cared for by both parents. Their population declined dramatically in the 1970s, mostly from predation by the brown tree snake. In the mid-1980s, 21 birds were captured for a captive breeding program. Though small numbers were reintroduced to Guam, predation from feral cats made the attempts unsuccessful. Captive bred birds have been released on the tree snake-free islands of Cocos and Rota.