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Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 10:16 EDT

Baillon’s Crake

The Baillon’s Crake (Porzana pusilla) is a species of water bird found in Europe and across Asia. In Europe it mainly is found in the east. Populations in Great Britain and western Europe declined through the mid-19th century. This species is migratory, wintering in east Africa and south Asia. There is a single record of this species existing in North America on Attu Island in September 2000.

The adult is 6.25 to 7 inches in length. It has a short straight yellow or green bill. The upperparts are mainly brown with some white markings. The face and underparts are blue-gray. The rear flanks are barred black and white. It has green legs with long toes. It has a short tail that is barred underneath. The young bird is similar to the adult, but has extensively barred underparts. As with all rails, the downy chicks are black.

This species probes with its bill in mud or shallow water picking up food by sight. The diet consists of insects and aquatic animals. During the breeding season this bird is very secretive and is hardly seen. They are noisy and give a rattling call like that of the Edible Frog. They are seen more during migration. They nest in a dry area in wet sedge bogs. The female lays 4 to 8 eggs.

The Baillon’s Crake is listed as threatened on the Australian
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. However, their conservation status varies from state to state within Australia. is listed as threatened on the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act (1988). On the 2007 advisory list of threatened vertebrate fauna in Victoria, the Baillon’s Crake is listed as vulnerable. The Baillon’s Crake is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.

This bird is named after French naturalist
Louis Antoine Francois Baillon. The names Marsh Crake and Tiny Crake have previously been used to refer to this species.

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Baillon8217s Crake