The rail has an average weight of 30 g (1.1 oz) and a length of 17 cm (6.7 in). It is dark rusty-brown above and dark grey below, with a short black bill and a red eye.
This rail is found throughout Inaccessible Island, but prefers grassland and open fern-bush. Its diet includes earthworms, moths, berries, and seeds.
A clutch of two eggs is laid between October and January; chicks are vulnerable to predation by the Tristan thrush.
The Ascension crake (Mundia elpenor) which disappeared some time before 1700 but was briefly mentioned and described by traveller and hobby naturalist Peter Mundy in 1656 and Aphanocrex podarces, the Saint Helena swamphen which disappeared before 1600 and has never been encountered by scientists were once considered congeners of A. rogersi. As they are considered to have evolved independently (with A. podarces probably not even being closely related), they have each been moved to a separate genus. Both species became extinct due to predation by introduced species, mainly cats and rats.