Plumbeous Rail Pardirallus sanguinolentus


The Plumbeous Rail is the most widespread rail in the southern half of South America. It is found as far north as southern Ecuador, but reaches all the way south to Tierra del Fuego, making it also the southernmost of the continent’s rails. The Plumbeous Rail is also a relatively easy to see species, often wandering outside of the marsh and foraging on mudflats and the edge of wetlands. Vocally it is a boisterous rail, singing in a duet where the male makes loud squealing sounds, and the female replies with low, rumbling hooting sounds. This rail is also a generalist, found from sea level to the Altiplano, and in Scirpus marshes to wet forest, and moist bamboo (Chusquea spp.) thickets in the south. The Plumbeous Rail is a mid sized to large species, that is brown above and solid grey below; the eyes and legs are red, and the green bill is adorned with a sky blue base to the maxilla, and a bright red base to the mandible. In the southern Patagonian form (luridus) the bright bill base colors are typically absent.

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© Ted Parker

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Plumbeous Rail (Pardirallus sanguinolentus), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: