Family Rails, Gallinules, Coots (Rallidae)

Least Concern

Rufous-sided Crake (Laterallus melanophaius)


French: Râle brunoir German: Rothalsralle Spanish: Polluela burrito

Rallus melanophaius


, 1819,



Sometimes considered to include L. albigularis. Proposed race lateralis (from the Guianas and NE Brazil) regarded as a synonym of nominate. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. m. melanophaius (Vieillot, 1819) – coastal Venezuela E to Suriname and S through C & E Brazil to E Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and N Argentina.
  • L. m. oenops (P. L. Sclater & Salvin, 1880) – S Colombia, E Ecuador, E Peru and W Brazil.
  • Descriptive notes

    14–18 cm; one male 60 g, female 53–54 g; unsexed 46–57 (51) g. Bill relatively long and medium-slender; occasionally shows some narrow white barring on... read more


    Abrupt, loose churring, very similar to call of L. albigularis. Calls frequently.


    Marshes, especially in dense vegetation along edges; also wet meadows and grassland; often some way... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, especially beetles (Curculionidae), spiders, and bugs (Homoptera); captive birds ate mealworms (Tenebrio larvae) and... read more


    SE Brazil, 2 young Nov, 1 Jan. Captive pair built 3 nests, 2 in bushes 0·6m and over 1 m above ground, and 1 in nestbox on ground.... read more


    None recorded.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Apparently uncommon in Argentina and in Rio Grande do Sul, SE Brazil; status not recorded elsewhere as birds difficult to observe. read more

    Recommended citation

    Taylor, B. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Rufous-sided Crake (Laterallus melanophaius). 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 17 November 2019).