Russet-naped Wood-Rail is one of the northernmost species of Aramides, occurring from northeastern Mexico south to northern Costa Rica. This species primarily occupies swampy forest and forest edge, and the margins of forest streams. These wood-rails usually remain under vegetative cover or in thickets, but sometimes venture out in the open. The diet is mixed, including invertebrates, small vertebrates such as frogs, and seeds, berries, and palm fruits. The nest is a platform of twigs and grasses, placed in a bush or tree, up to 3 m above the ground, and often above water. Russet-naped Wood-Rail and Gray-cowled Wood-Rail (Aramides cajaneus) formerly were considered to be a single species, Gray-necked Wood-Rail. They differ in several ways, however, including in plumage (the rufous nape is reduced or absent on Gray-cowled Wood-Rail) and in vocalizations. The two species also replace each other very abruptly in Costa Rica, with Russet-naped Wood-Rail in northeastern Costa Rica, and Gray-cowled Wood-Rail from southwestern Costa Rica south to Argentina.