Monias benschi Oustalet and G. Grandidier, 1903, Vorondreo, Madagascar. Monotypic.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Monias, Bensch’s rail; French: Mйsite monias; German: Moniasstelzenralle; Spanish: Mesito Monias.
13 in (32 cm); weights unrecorded. Relatively long, decurved bill. Grayish brown upperparts; light underparts; long, white eyebrows. Males have black crescent-shaped markings on underparts; females have rufous throat and breast.
Coastal forests in southwest Madagascar.
Dry, spiny thickets on sandy soils, with sparse understory and much leaf litter. From sea level to 430 ft (130 m).
Terrestrial and gregarious. Usually found in groups of two to six birds, rarely up to 10. If alarmed, the group will scatter, with birds either remaining motionless in shadow or flying onto low branches where they lie pressed to the bark.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Forages on the ground, probing the soil for invertebrates; occasionally takes prey and small fruits and seeds from leaf litter.
May be polyandrous or polygynous. Breeds November through January. The simple stick nest is built 2–7 ft (0.6–2 m) above the ground, and contains one or two eggs. Parents share incubation and care of the blackish brown chick.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
Hunted for food.
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