Rufous-necked Wood-Rail Aramides axillaris

  • Order: Gruiformes
  • Family: Rallidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Emma Boyer



Rufous-necked Wood-Rails are crepuscular and behave similar to most other rail species. They are secretive, staying in dense cover, yet are vocal especially at dusk and dawn and at night. When walking, they exhibit the typical "alert though furtive" Aramides-like posture and a jerking cocked tail movement. While foraging for crabs they venture into the open (up to 15 m from cover) on tidal mudflats and along creek banks (Parker et al. 1995).


There are no published data on territorial defense, maintenance, or fidelity for Rufous-necked Wood-Rail.

Sexual Behavior

Undescribed, but Rufous-necked Wood-Rail presumably is monogamous; the antiphonal duets (see Vocalizations) could be a form of pair bonding. Kessler (in Parker et al. 1995), however, observed three apparent family groups (adults and one or more downy chicks), two of which included two adults but one of which consisted of three adults with a single chick. Taylor (1998) suggested that this may be evidence of cooperative breeding.

Social and interspecific behavior

Rufous-necked Wood-Rail usually is solitary, except when attending family groups.

Kessler (in Parker et al. 1995) encountered an adult with at least four downy chicks. As Kessler approached these birds, "the adult dashed towards him displaying the rufous in the wings by spreading them sideways, and while grunting and squeaking, came within 1. 5 m of Kessler. This attracted a second adult, which gave similar displays, while the first bird, uttering the clicking notes, led the chicks away. As Kessler retreated, the second bird followed him for about 50 m. After it stopped following, Kessler twice heard a call that was composed of two parts, a loud, high pitched queenq (somewhat similar in quality to the song of Aramides cajanea [Gray-necked Wood-Rail]), followed by a much deeper, less audible booming sound".


There are no reports of predation on Rufous-necked Wood-Rail?

Recommended Citation

Boyer, E. (2014). Rufous-necked Wood-Rail (Aramides axillaris), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.