Grey-necked Wood-Rail (Aramides cajanea)

Grey-necked Wood-Rail

[order] GRUIFORMES | [family] Rallidae | [latin] Aramides cajanea | [UK] Grey-necked Wood-Rail | [FR] Rale de Cayenne | [DE] Cayenneralle | [ES] Cotara Chiricote (Arg, Py, Bo, Uy), Rascon cuelligris, Gallineta Cuello Gris (HN) | [NL] Cayenne-bosral


Monotypic species


Physical charateristics

One of the larger Neotropical rails and the only Aramides with head and neck entirely grey.
This chicken-sized bird has long, pink legs, a grey neck and back, a rust-colored chest, and a yellow beak. They can run quickly through reeds, rarely flying to escape predators.

Listen to the sound of Grey-necked Wood-Rail

[audio: Wood-Rail.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: cm wingspan max.: cm
size min.: 37 cm size max.: 41 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 7  


Latin America : South Mexico to North Argentina


Like all rails, it is shy and secretive but will venture out into the open if reasonably close to dense cover at the edge of mangroves or a swamp.
Swamps, swampy forests and mangroves


Nests are made of grass and reeds placed among the reeds or in a branch overhanging the water. A clutch of 5-8 eggs hatch in 20 days. Chicks are chocolate brown and stay in the nest for a few days. The male takes charge and feeds the chicks when they leave the nest.

Feeding habits

Feeds mainly at night on crabs. Will also eat seeds, insects and worms.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Throughout Mexico and Bolivia; also seen in northern Argentina and Uruguay. Have been introduced into southern Florida.
Grey-necked Wood-Rail status Least Concern


Presumed sedentary

Distribution map

Grey-necked Wood-Rail distribution range map

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