Grey necked woodrail

One of the prettiest birds we saw in Costa Rica seemed quite common – the grey necked woodrail.

About the size of a chicken, we saw a number of them wading on the edges of watercourses. The variety of colours is quite amazing – the green-yellow beak, red eyes, grey neck, brown top of head, reddish brown (rufous) chest and lighter wings, black rear and tail, and coral red legs.

The grey necked woodrail is totally unlike the less brightly coloured water rail found in the UK, a rather secretive bird which we’ve rarely seen at RSPB reserves when they are supposedly present.

The coots and moorhens commonly seen in UK are also rails, and they are of course far from secretive.