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Aves bird of the week - Spotted Crake - Porzana porzana

Spotted Crake

The Spotted Crake – Porzana porzana - is a small wetland bird, of the family Rallidae. It  breeds throughout Europe from southern Scandinavia to the northern Mediterranean, also reaching central and western Asia. They winter along the eastern spine of the African continent, as far down as South Africa. 


The spotted crake is only the size of a starling. White spots on the breast, neck and upperparts are distinctive. Breeding adults have a brown back with dark streaks, a blue-grey face and an olive-brown breast - all covered with white flecks and spots. They have green legs with long toes. The under tail is a warm buff colour. In flight the leading edge of the wing is white. The sexes are similar.


The spotted crake has an extensive vocal repertoire ranging from a quiet ‘hui’ to, when alarmed, a hard ‘eh’ and a ‘tshick’ used for warning. In Southern Africa these crakes are usually silent.


Insects, snails, worms, small fish and plant materials.


Breeding pairs of spotted crake are monogamous, but only for the duration of the breeding season. The nest is built near water among thick vegetation or in a tussock. Eggs are laid by the female spotted crake in clutches of 8 to 12, and hatch after around 18 days. The black, downy chicks become self-feeding after a few days, and are only cared for by the adults until all eggs in a brood have hatched. Fledging occurs after about 50 days.

Conservation Status – Least concern

The spotted crake is not considered to be globally threatened despite a decline in numbers throughout Europe over the past century.


Ask Aves Birding Tours to create a customized tour for you to see these secretive birds.



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