Grey-necked wood-rail

Grey-necked wood-rail
Aramides cajaneus

Photo by Santiago Lozano (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
grey-necked wood-rail (en); saracura-três-potes (pt); râle de Cayenne (fr); cotara chiricote (es); Cayenneralle (de)

Order Gruiformes
Family Rallidae

This species is found from north-eastern Mexico, south across Central America and into South America where it is found east of the Andes as far south as northern Argentina and Uruguay.

These birds are 33-40 cm long and weigh 350-470 g.

The grey-necked wood-rail is mostly found in swamp forests and marshes, also using moist tropical forests, mangroves and forests rivers. This species occurs from sea level up to an altitude of 2.000 m.

They are omnivorous, feeding on crabs, snails and other molluscs, insects such as flies, cockroaches and locusts, frogs, water snakes and the eggs and juveniles of turtles, but also on seeds and grains, fleshy berries and palm fruits.

Grey-necked wood-rails breed in January-September, varying among different parts of their range. The nest is a bulky mass of dead leaves and twigs, placed either on the ground among reeds or up to 3 m above the ground in a a thicket or vine tangle. The female lays 2-7 dull white to beige eggs with rufous and pale lilac blotches and spots. The eggs are incubated by both parents for about 20 days. The chicks leave the nest within a few days of hatching, but the parents will bring them food and protect them for about 8 weeks.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and the global population is currently estiated at 5-50 million individuals. The overall population trend is stable, although some populations have unknown trends and may be adversely affected by habitat destruction.

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