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Life seemed to be so much simpler when I didn’t know about Wood-Rails. Specifically, our resident species of Grey-cowled Wood-Rail. I wrote previously on the split that occurred within the Grey-necked Wood-Rail species – into Grey-cowled and Russet-naped Wood-Rail, both species differing in vocalization and plumage to a certain degree.

Trouble is, there are multiple official bodies that are involved in the naming of birds – and they still haven’t come to a definite agreement it seems.

So although some purists (like myself) enjoy using the name “Grey-cowled Wood-Rail”; if you refer to this gorgeous bird as a “Grey-necked Wood-Rail” – no-one’s gonna be mad at you.

Cowled or necked, nobody has the time to argue semantics when there’s one of these birds just around the corner, oblivious to human presence. I just happened to catch a glimpse of this particular bird preening behind a tree trunk – and with it so engrossed in its own activity – it failed to notice the advancing photographer. I inched forward and laid low, aiming for the clearing between the tree and the dense brush I knew this secretive species would dart into if I breathed too heavily.

Once I framed my shot where I figured the bird would pass, I waited. It eventually craned its neck around the tree trunk and gave me a good eye. As I was already on the ground, making myself small – it didn’t perceive me as a threat and I was able to comfortably make this image in the delicate light, before it very casually wandered off into the bushes. Another good day at the office, they say.

grey cowled wood rail

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