AvianDiversity » A Connoisseur's Eye » Birds » Rails, Crakes and Coots » Spotted Crake (Porzana porzana - (Linnaeus) 1766)

Spotted Crake (Porzana porzana - (Linnaeus) 1766)


The spotted crake is only the size of a starling. 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. The under tail is a warm buff colour. Spotted crakes tend to skulk in thick cover and walk with their body close to the ground and tail flicking. They swim with a jerky action like that of the moorhen. If surprised in the open, they run for cover or jump up and flutter away with legs dangling. Their breeding habitat is marshes and sedge beds across temperate Europe into western Asia. They nest in a dry location in marsh vegetation, laying 6-15 eggs. This species is migratory, wintering in Africa, India and Pakistan. Spotted Crakes are very secretive in the breeding season, and are then mostly heard rather than seen. They are then noisy birds, with a distinctive repetitive whiplash-like hwuit, hwuit call.