Family Finfoots (Heliornithidae)


Masked Finfoot (Heliopais personatus)


French: Grébifoulque d’Asie German: Maskenbinsenralle Spanish: Avesol asiático

Podica personata

G. R. Gray

, 1849,





S Bangladesh (Sundarbans) and NE India (E Arunachal Pradesh, E Assam, S Assam Hills), Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam; status uncertain in S Thailand#R, Malaysia and Sumatra.

Descriptive notes

43–55 cm. Mostly grey-brown, with full black mask and white at base of maxilla in male. Rectrices somewhat stiffened, but not as much as in Podica... read more


Gives deep bubbling notes, like a large bubble being blown underwater, followed by an accelerating... read more


Fairly varied: well-vegetated wet­lands, including swamps and overgrown ponds, lake edges,... read more

Food and feeding

Very few data available. Reported to feed on aquatic insects, molluscs, frogs, crustaceans, small fish and some vegetable matter. Small... read more


Very poorly known. Breeding season was reputed to be during rains, but no confirmation until recently; in Cambodia, nest with eggs in mid... read more


Little known. Thought to be essentially sedentary throughout most, if not all, of range, but... read more

Status and conservation

ENDANGERED. Previously listed as Vulnerable. World population estimated at fewer than 10,000 birds. Considered to be threatened because of small and declining population,... read more

Recommended citation

Bertram, B.C.R., Boesman, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Masked Finfoot (Heliopais personatus). 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 20 February 2020).