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Gray-cowled Wood Rail - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Rogerio Araújo Dias
Brasilia, Brazil

Alternative name: Grey-necked Wood Rail

Aramides cajaneus


Photo © by rka
Aranguez, Trinidad, November 2018

33–40 cm (13-15¾ in)
Large. Bill moderately long, yellowish at base, greenish at tip; eyes, bare eyering, and legs coral red. Head and longish neck gray; throat paler; crown tinged brown; upperparts olive; breast and sides cinnamon rufous; rearparts including abdomen, rump, and tail black; primaries rufous chestnut (usually concealed at rest).
Immatures are duller and the bill and legs are dusky.


From Costa Rica south through Central and South America. Also in Trinidad.


Formerly included in Gray-necked Wood Rail.


There are 3 subspecies1:

  • A. c. latens - San Miguel Islands and Pearl Islands (Panama)
  • A. c. morrisoni - Pearl Islands (San José and Pedro González)
  • A. c. cajaneus - Costa Rica to northern Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and the Guianas


Floodplain lakes, wet open areas, damp floor of mature rain forest but can also be found in forest remnants. Coastal marshland, mangrove woods, Hilly woodland with pond in an urban setting with cultivated and native trees, shrubs and herbs. Found near streams and in swamps and mangroves. Tropical dry forest. Observed at heights from 30 m and 610 m. Recorded at heights up to 2300m.



They have a varied diet including seeds, frogs and crabs.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved June 2014)
  3. Gill, F and D Donsker (Eds). 2015. IOC World Bird Names (version 5.3). Available at http://www.worldbirdnames.org/.

Recommended Citation

External Links

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