Rufous-faced crake -- 棕脸田鸡 (Laterallus xenopterus)

Close up of a rufous-faced crake
Loading more images and videos...

Rufous-faced crake fact file

Rufous-faced crake description

GenusLaterallus (1)

This small, but distinctive bird is a member of the rail family Rallidae, a group of ground-dwelling birds, and gets its common name from the strong yellowish pink to orangey-red colour of its head and neck. The back, wings and fairly long tail are dark brown, and the feathers at the leading edge of the wing are barred blackish-brown and white. The underparts are white, and barred black on the belly (2) (3). Its stout bill is blue-grey, as are its legs and feet, and the iris is red. Males and females are very similar in appearance (4).

Length: 14 cm (2)
51 – 53 g (2)

Rufous-faced crake biology

This is a very poorly-known species, with very little information regarding its diet, behaviour or breeding, which suggests that this bird is very secretive. It uses runways in grass made by small mammals or water channels (4).


Rufous-faced crake range

Occurs in only approximately ten locations distributed over eastern Paraguay, central Brazil and central Bolivia (2).


Rufous-faced crake habitat

The rufous-faced crake inhabits grasslands, with dense tussock-grasses, in shallowly flooded or marshy areas, often with around 3 cm of standing water (2).


Rufous-faced crake status

Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List 2006 (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Vulnerable


Rufous-faced crake threats

A large portion of the rufous-faced crake’s range lies within the Cerrado, a vast tropical savanna covering parts of Brazil, northeastern Paraguay and eastern Bolivia. By 1993, two-thirds of the Cerrado region had been either converted or heavily modified, for human activities such as agriculture and cattle-ranching (3) (5). This is likely to have drastically reduced the amount of suitable habitat available for the rufous-faced crake. This continues to be a threat, and an increase in human population within this region will increase the pressure on the remaining intact vegetation (5). Fire is an additional potential threat to this species, although it does appear to tolerate some burning. A more significant threat to the rufous-faced crake is the widespread use of pesticides, fertilisers and other chemicals (2) (3).


Rufous-faced crake conservation

The rufous-faced crake occurs in a number of protected areas, such as Brazilia National Park, Brazil; Paso Bravo National Park, Paraguay and Estación Biológica Beni, a UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserve in Bolivia (3). However, such areas offer differing levels of protection, and one specific proposed conservation measure is to implement effective protection of Paso Bravo National Park. Surveys to determine its exact distribution have also been proposed, particularly concentrating on the large gaps in its known distribution where there is similar habitat (3).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

Find out more

For further information on this species see:



This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:



  1. IUCN Red List (January, 2007)
  2. del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (1996) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 3: Hoatzin to Auks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  3. Birdlife International (May, 2007)
  4. Taylor, B. (1998) Rails: a guise to the rails, crakes, gallinules and coots of the world. Pica Press, Robertsbridge.
  5. World Wildlife Fund (May, 2007)

Image credit

Close up of a rufous-faced crake  
Close up of a rufous-faced crake

© Jon Hornbuckle

Jon Hornbuckle


Link to this photo

Arkive species - Rufous-faced crake (Laterallus xenopterus) Embed this Arkive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to Arkive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about



MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite Arkive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!


Back To Top