Black-banded Crake Anurolimnas fasciatus

  • Order: Gruiformes
  • Family: Rallidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Thomas S. Schulenberg and Guy M. Kirwan


Distinguishing Characteristics

Crakes are small rails with short bills. The Black-banded Crake is named for the pattern of black barring on the brownish flanks, but this is not the most distinctive feature of this bird: the most prominent features are the rufous brown head and breast, and the dull olive brown upperparts.

Similar Species

The Black-banded Crake is sympatric with several superficially similar species. Rufous-sided Crake (Laterallus melanophaius) is smaller, paler in overall color, with a white throat and breast and yellow bill and tarsi. Uniform (Amaurolimnas concolor) and Chestnut-headed (Anurolimnas castaneiceps) crakes have yellow bills, and lack barring on the flanks.

Detailed Description

The following description is based on Blake (1977):

Adult: Sexes similar. Head, throat and breast rufous; belly, vent, and undertail coverts paler (more cinnamon), heavily barred with black. Back, rump, and wings deep olive-brown, the inner remiges lightly tinged with reddish. Primaries fuscous. Underwing coverts and axillaries cinnamon, more or less mottled with dusky.

Immature: Head and breast paler than in adult; olive-brown of the upperparts is washed with chestnut. Barring on the underparts is less prominent, olive-brown and dull cinnamon rather than black and cinnamon (Taylor 1998).

Bare Parts

Iris: dull red

Bill: dark horn or blackish

Tarsi and toes: bright coral red

Data from Blake (1977) and Taylor (1998).


Total length: 17-18 cm (Ridgley and Greenfield 2001b), 18 cm (Hilty and Brown 1986), 18-20 cm (Blake 1977, Taylor 1998),

Linear measurements (mm) of Anurolimnas fasciatus (Blake 1977)
     wing (flat) exposed culmen  tarsus
   male  mean   95   19.8   37.4
   n=5  range   94-96   19-20   34-40
  female  mean   95.1   18    37.2
   n=8  range   92-99   17-19   34-40

Recommended Citation

Schulenberg, T. S. and G. M. Kirwan (2011). Black-banded Crake (Anurolimnas fasciatus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.