Family Rails, Gallinules, Coots (Rallidae)

Least Concern

Grey-breasted Crake (Laterallus exilis)


French: Râle grêle German: Amazonasralle Spanish: Polluela pechigrís

Rallus exilis


, 1831,

Cayenne, French Guiana


Proposed race vagans (from E Honduras–N Nicaragua border) considered invalid. Monotypic.


Guatemala and Belize S through Panama to Colombia and NW Ecuador; Venezuela and the Guianas S through Amazonian Brazil and W to E Ecuador, E Peru and N Bolivia; also E Brazil#R#R#R, S Paraguay (Villa Hayes) and N Argentina (Formosa, Chaco and Corrientes)#R#R, where status uncertain.

Descriptive notes

14–15·5 cm; male 26·5–39 (32)g, female 29–43 (36)g. Variable amount of narrow white barring on upperwing-coverts, sometimes absent. Sexes... read more


Call a series of 2–10 “tink” or “keek” notes; also descending musical... read more


Marshes, riverbanks, lake edges and wet grassy habitats with dense, short to fairly tall vegetation... read more

Food and feeding

Earthworms, spiders, insects (Orthoptera, Homoptera, Coleoptera, Hemiptera, Heteroptera and larval Lepidoptera), and seeds.


Surinam, Dec, Feb; Colombia, breeding condition Feb; Panama, possibly Jul; record from Trinidad, Jul, possibly not of this species. Nest... read more


Regarded as sedentary, but in Surinam 2 birds were caught at night at lighted houses in Jul and Feb... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fragmented distribution suggests that species may be more widespread than is known, but birds are secretive and very difficult to see... read more

Recommended citation

Taylor, B. (2019). Grey-breasted Crake (Laterallus exilis). 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 13 November 2019).