Grey-necked Wood Rail
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Range Central and South America.
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Gruiformes
Family Rallidae
Genus Aramides
Species Aramides cajaneus
Conservation Status
Least Concern

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


The grey-necked wood rail measures 38 cm (15 in) long 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.


There are eight accepted subspecies:

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Aramides cajaneus albiventris

(Lawrence, 1867)

From the Yucatán to Belize and into Northern Guatemala.
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Aramides cajaneus 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.
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Aramides cajaneus latens

(Bangs & Penard, 1918)

On San Miguel and Viveros (Pearl Islands, Panama).
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Aramides cajaneus mexicanus

(Bangs, 1907)

In southern Mexico.
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Aramides cajaneus morrisoni

(Wetmore, 1946)

on San José and Pedro González (Pearl Islands, Panama).
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Aramides cajaneus pacificus

(A. H. Miller & Griscom, 1921)

On the Caribbean slope of Honduras and Nicaragua.
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Aramides cajaneus plumbeicollis

(Zeledon, 1888)

In north-east Costa Rica.
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Aramides cajaneus vanrossemi

(Dickey, 1929)

From southern Mexico (Oaxaca) to southern Guatemala and into El Salvador.

Distribution and Habitat

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

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

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