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A photo of a Slaty-breasted Wood Rail (Aramides saracura)
Slaty-breasted Wood Rail

Slaty-breasted Wood Rail

Aramides saracura

The Slaty-breasted Wood Rail, Aramides saracura, presents a striking figure in the undergrowth. This bird, measuring between 34 to 37 centimeters in length, exhibits a sexual monomorphism, meaning males and females are visually indistinguishable. Adults boast a green bill tinged with blue at the base, eyes of a vivid red, and legs and feet that range from reddish to yellowish brown. Their plumage is a tapestry of colors: a slate gray dominates the head, throat, breast, and belly, while the nape and shoulders are adorned with chestnut. The back is an olive hue, and the tail is a stark black.

Identification Tips

When attempting to identify the Slaty-breasted Wood Rail, look for the distinctive slate gray coloration on the bird's underparts, contrasted with the chestnut shoulders and olive back. The red eyes and greenish bill are also key features that can aid in identification.

Habitat

This species is typically found in the somewhat wet forests and woodlands of its range. It favors swampy areas or those adjacent to streams, but it tends to avoid open marshes, preferring the cover provided by denser vegetation.

Distribution

The Slaty-breasted Wood Rail is native to southeastern Brazil, extending from southern Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo southward and westward into eastern Paraguay and northeastern Argentina.

Behaviour

As a year-round resident, the Slaty-breasted Wood Rail is not known for migratory movements, preferring to stay within its established range throughout the year.

Song & Calls

The vocal repertoire of the Slaty-breasted Wood Rail is quite varied, consisting of loud, resounding cries that can be heard during the day. These include a series of 'po-quit kwaa kwaa kwaa', 'po-peek', and 'po-pereek', often performed in duet. Additionally, when agitated, it emits a rapid series of 'quir' notes.

Breeding

The breeding season of the Slaty-breasted Wood Rail is not fully defined but is thought to span from November to February. Knowledge of their breeding habits is limited, with only one known nest found in a thick bush containing four or five eggs.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the Slaty-breasted Wood Rail primarily consists of earthworms, beetle larvae, and other small insects, which it forages from the forest floor.

Conservation status

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified the Slaty-breasted Wood Rail as Least Concern. Although it has a large range, the exact population size is unknown and suspected to be decreasing. However, no immediate threats have been identified, and its status in most of its range remains uncertain. Due to the lack of comprehensive data on its natural history, it could be considered a Data Deficient species.

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