The White-winged Flufftail (Sarothrura ayresi) is a very rare African bird in the Rallidae family. It resembles its relatives in the Flufftail genus, but both sexes have dull plumage and dark crowns. In flight both sexes also show distinctive white secondary feathers, a feature shared only with the related genus Coturnicops. The species is found in Ethiopia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
The only breeding records are from highland marshes of central Ethiopia. It is also a very local and apparently summer visitor to highland marshes south of the equator. It is yet unknown whether the northern and southern populations are distinct, but their physical features appear identical. The birds are however not resident in any of the few known sites, sometimes departing after as little as six weeks when conditions turn unfavourable.
The three Ethiopian sites are the Suluta Valley wetlands, the Berga wetlands and the Wersebi wetlands near Addis Ababa. The species was first found to breed at the Berga wetlands in 1997. Breeding has since been confirmed from the Wersebi wetlands and the Bilacha river wetland, close to Berga, which may be the main site. In South Africa they are regular at the Dullstroom and Wakkerstroom marshes, where public access is strictly regulated.
Non-breeding birds call only at dawn and dusk, sometimes in duet. Their natural habitat is seasonal marshland of subtropical or tropical high-altitude grassland. The species is severely threatened by habitat loss, caused amongst others by grass trampling by cattle, grass cutting and drainage of swamps for pasture. Regulated land management could however improve the situation markedly.