AvianDiversity » A Connoisseur's Eye » Birds » Rails, Crakes and Coots » Baillon's Crake (Porzana pusilla - (Pallas) 1776)

Baillon's Crake (Porzana pusilla - (Pallas) 1776)


Baillon's crake, Porzana pusilla, a very small member of the Rallidae family. This starling-sized bird is interesting because it has an extremely large range, being found throughout much of Europe, Asia, Africa and Australasia. Baillon's crakes are found in freshwater, brackish and saline wetlands. The European and Asian poulations are migratory, wintering in east Africa and south Asia, whereas the Australasian and African populations are sedentary. They feed mostly on insects and worms, but also consume molluscs, small crustaceans, small fish and amphibians as well as plant material and seeds. They build their nests in a dry area in sodden sedge bogs, marshes, wetlands, riparian scrub, sewage ponds and shallowly flooded fields, such as rice paddies.
Baillon's crake is very small, smaller even than the very similar little crake, P. parva. Where their ranges overlap, Baillon's crake can be distinguished from the little crake by the short primary projection (the tips of its wing primaries reach only a little farther than its tertials), its short tail, and by the lack of red on the base of its bill. Its bill is a pale green rather than yellow and its underparts are blue-grey with bolder and more extensive dark and white barring on the rear portion of its body and its vent.