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Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 10:04 EDT

Spotted Crake, Porzana porzana

The Spotted Crake (Porzana porzana) is a waterbird of small size belonging to the family Rallidae.

The breeding habitat is sedge beds and marshes across temperate Europe into western Asia. They nest in dry locations in marsh vegetation, laying six to fifteen eggs. This bird is migratory, wintering in Africa and Pakistan.

At 19 to 22.5 centimeters in length, Spotted Crakes are slightly smaller than Water Rails, from which they’re readily distinguished by the short and straight bill that is yellow with a red colored base. The adult individuals have mostly brown upperparts and a blue-grey breast with dark colored barring and white colored spots on the flanks. Their legs are green with long toes and they have a short tail which is beige underneath.

The immature individuals are similar, but the blue-grey coloration is replaced with brown. The downy chicks are black which is usual in all rails.

The sole confusion species the Sora, which is a rare wanderer from North America. However, that species lacks the breast spotting and has an unstreaked crown stripe.

This species of birds probe with their bill in the mud or in shallow water, also picking up food utilizing their sight. They mostly eat insects and aquatic animals.

This is a very secretive species during the breeding season. They’re mostly heard rather than seen. Being noisy, they have a distinctive and repetitive whiplash-like hwuit, hwuit call. It is easier to see them on migration.

The Spotted Crake is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds applies.

Image Caption: Porzana porzana. Credit: Marek Szczepanek/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Spotted Crake Porzana porzana