New Zealand Journal of Ecology (1987) 10: 109- 115

Habitat Use by the Banded Rail

Research Article
Graeme Elliott  
  1. Zoology Department, Victoria University of Wellington, Private Bag, Wellington, New Zealand

The distribution of banded rail habitat use in a saltmarsh was measured by recording the rate at which their footprints accumulated. The relationships between habitat use, time of day, state of the tide, and 15 environmental parameters, were investigated using multivariate analysis. Banded rails were most active in the morning and evening and immediately after a tide. They did not venture far from cover and their activity was greatest at low levels on the shore, and amongst certain vegetation types. The patterns of habitat use are consistent with the rails being most active at times and places where their prey were most readily available. The absence of banded rails from the south of the South Island may be related to the dominance of Leptocarpus similis in saltmarshes there.