Historical information

The Buff-banded Rail is located on mainland Australia. It can also be found in south-east Asia, New Guinea and New Zealand. These birds are often seen individually or in pairs walking through the dense reeds and vegetations of wetlands or crops. This rail has a slow walk and often flicks its tail, which is raised, as they move. They are omnivore scavengers who feed on a large variety of invertebrates, fruit, seeds and vegetables.

This specimen is part of a collection of almost 200 animal specimens that were originally acquired as skins from various institutions across Australia, including the Australian Museum in Sydney and the National Museum of Victoria (known as Museums Victoria since 1983), as well as individuals such as amateur anthropologist Reynell Eveleigh Johns between 1860-1880. These skins were then mounted by members of the Burke Museum Committee and put-on display in the formal space of the Museum’s original exhibition hall where they continue to be on display. This display of taxidermy mounts initially served to instruct visitors to the Burke Museum of the natural world around them, today it serves as an insight into the collecting habits of the 19th century.


This specimen is part of a significant and rare taxidermy mount collection in the Burke Museum. This collection is scientifically and culturally important for reminding us of how science continues to shape our understanding of the modern world. They demonstrate a capacity to hold evidence of how Australia’s fauna history existed in the past and are potentially important for future environmental research.

This collection continues to be on display in the Museum and has become a key part to interpreting the collecting habits of the 19th century.

Physical description

This specimen is in a standing position with its neck stretched forwards on a wooden platform. The Buff-Branded Rail has a pale grey/yellow eyebrow over the orange glass eyes and a pale grey bill. It also has an orange and brown coloured band on its breast. This bird is multicoloured with streaks of chestnut brown, black, white and a faint orange-brown. This specimen has a paper identification tag tied to its left leg.

Inscriptions & markings

20D. /
Land Raid /
See Catalogue, page, 35. /