IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)


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Grey-necked wood rail

The grey-necked wood rail (Aramides cajaneus) is a species of bird in the Rallidae family. It lives primarily in forests and mangroves of Central and South America.


A. c. plumbeicollis displaying wing and head colouration

The grey-necked wood rail measures 38 cm (15 in) long[2][3] and weighs 460 g (16 oz). The upperparts are olive green to dark brown. The head and neck are medium-grey, blending into a brown patch at the back of the head. The eyes are red. The chest and flanks are rufous. The belly, rump and tail are black. Legs are coral-red. Males and females are similar. Immatures are similar to adults but belly sooty-black, flecked with buff. The similar but smaller rufous-necked wood rail (Aramides axillaris) has a reddish head and neck with a grey upper.[4]


The grey-necked wood rail has a loud, repetitive cackling call mainly heard at dawn and dusk: pop-tiyi pop-tiyi co-co-co-co-co or chitico chitico cao-cao-cao.


There are eight accepted subspecies:[5]

  • A. c. mexicanusBangs, 1907 — in southern Mexico
  • A. c. albiventrisLawrence, 1867 — from the Yucatán to Belize and into Northern Guatemala
  • A. c. vanrossemiDickey, 1929 — from southern Mexico (Oaxaca) to southern Guatemala and into El Salvador
  • A. c. pacificusA. H. Miller & Griscom, 1921 — on the Caribbean slope of Honduras and Nicaragua
  • A. c. plumbeicollisZeledon, 1888 — in north-east Costa Rica
  • A. c. latensBangs & Penard, 1918 — on San Miguel and Viveros (Pearl Islands, Panama)
  • A. c. morrisoniWetmore, 1946 — on San José and Pedro González (Pearl Is, Panama)
  • A. c. cajanea(P. L. S. Müller, 1776) — from Costa Rica to Colombia, east through Venezuela and Trinidad to Brazil, and south to Northern Argentina and Uruguay

Distribution and habitat[edit]

cajanea subspecies in Costa Rica

It is found in Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, subtropical or tropical mangrove forests, subtropical or tropical swamps, and swamps.

Status and conservation[edit]

Data is poor, but BirdLife International estimates between 5,000,000 and 50,000,000 individuals.[1]


  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2012). "Aramides cajaneus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Garrigues, Richard; Dean, Robert (2007). The Birds of Costa Rica. Ithaca: Zona Tropical/Comstock/Cornell University Press. p. 54. ISBN 978-0-8014-7373-9. 
  3. ^ Angehr, George R.; Dean, Robert (2010). The Birds of Panama. Ithaca: Zona Tropical/Comstock/Cornell University Press. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-8014-7674-7. 
  4. ^ Ramos-Ordoñez, M.F.; Rodríguez-Flores, C.; Soberanes-González, C.; Arizmendi, M.C. (2010). "Identification – Gray-necked Wood-Rail (Aramides cajanea)". In Schulenberg, T.S. Neotropical Birds Online. Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  5. ^ "Grey-necked Wood-rail (Aramides cajanea)". Internet Bird Collection. 


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