Article by K-LW
4 August 2021
I found a Slaty-breasted Rail walking around my garden one early morning in May 2021.
It is a shy bird of swampy, grassy, watery habitat, usually solitary and silent.
Adults are about 10 inches long with chestnut color forehead, crown, nape and hind neck.( image 12 )
Chin and front of neck are whitish. Fine bluish grey feathers cover side of face (lore, malar, aural region), side of neck and breast, down to upper parts of belly. The rest of body (back, wings, side, belly) are covered by blackish feathers with light brownish filly fringes. This blackish feathery landscape is broken up by white spots and short, narrow, curvy white bands. ( Image 3,4,5,6,10,13,15, )
The beak is longish and mostly red-pink. The upper beak consists of a greyish dorsal plate and two pinkish side plates, each of which has an elongated nostril opening in their proximal portion. Tip of beak is greyish in color. ( Image 10,11 )
The vent is rufous in color. ( Image 3,4 )
The sharp pointed tail is short and stumpy. ( Image 9,14 )
It has powerful long legs (dark bluish-grey) and relatively large feet with four long toes ending in short, sharp curved claws. This adaptation is suited for walking in the soft mud of swampy ground. The toes are arranged in the anisodactyl format, one toe (hallux) points backward and three point forward. Legs and toes are covered in a bluish grey tough skin known as the podotheca. This skin is mostly smooth except over the extensor aspect of joints where it is divided into overlapping scales arranged in reticulate pattern and over the flexor aspect it is divided into numerous small irregular scutellate plates . This bare skin most probably helps it to keep cool by acting as a heat radiator.
( Image 1,2,3,4,8,14 )
The eye has a black pupil .The iris is brown. There is a thin black rim around the eye (Image 12).
Voice is a loud, sharp ‘Keep’ given as a burst of 15-30 calls, becoming faster and louder then fades away . ( watch the video :- Call of Slaty-breasted Rail )