Family Rails, Gallinules, Coots (Rallidae)

Least Concern

Chestnut-headed Crake (Rufirallus castaneiceps)


French: Râle à masque rouge German: Rotmaskenralle Spanish: Polluela pituro

Porzana castaneiceps

P. L. Sclater and Salvin

, 1869,

Río Napo, eastern Ecuador


Sometimes placed in genus Rallina, but lacks wing-barring and has very short tail. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • R. c. coccineipes (Olson, 1973) – S Colombia, NE Ecuador and N Peru (S to R Napo).
  • R. c. castaneiceps (P. L. Sclater & Salvin, 1868) – E Ecuador and E Peru; presumably this race#R in extreme NW Bolivia (Pando)#R and W Brazil (Acre, Rondônia)#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    19–22 cm; 1 female 126 g. Tail very short. Sexes alike. Distinguished from R. viridis by dark brown underparts and entirely rufous face; from Porzana... read more


    Song is a synchronized duet, one bird making loud, high-pitched “ti-too” call and the... read more


    Normally said to inhabit humid terra firme forest and banks of forest streams, but in NW... read more

    Food and feeding

    Food not recorded, but species presumably feeds on insects and other small invertebrates. Forages on ground inside dense thickets, flicking... read more


    Bolivia, nearly grown young Jun (egg laid May?); Colombia, breeding condition Jun. Two nests found in Jun and Dec in Ecuador, with two eggs... read more


    None recorded.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Regarded as uncommon to rare throughout its range, and possibly of rather local distribution. Status difficult to assess, as birds... read more

    Recommended citation

    Taylor, B. (2019). Chestnut-headed Crake (Rufirallus castaneiceps). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 11 December 2019).