Bird Species of the World's Boreal Forests


Porzana porzana
Spotted Crake


Distinguishing Features - The Spotted crake is a small member of the Rail family. Colouration: olive-brown upper parts streaked wth white and a grey, white-speckled breast.

Spotted Crake Habitat

The spotted crake nests over practically all of Europe, up to southern Scandinavia and western Russia, except the far north. In September to October it leaves its breeding grounds for wintering sites in southwestern Europe and the Mediterranean. When migrating, spotted crakes fly by night. They inhabit lakes and ponds bordered with thick vegetation, marshes, swamps and overgrown river deltas.


The diet consists of insects and their larvae, worms and spiders; also feeds on small molluscs, centipedes and other invertebrates as well as the green leaves of duckweed and, in the autumn, small seeds.


Crakes are found throughout the world. The spotted, little and Bailon's crakes are found in Europe and Asia, and Baillon's crakes are also found in southern Africa, Australia and New Zealand, an unusual discontinous distribution with isolated populations in different parts of the world. The Carolina crake breeds in Canada and the United States, migrating south as far as Peru in winter and occasionally reaching Britain.

Crakes are skulking birds living in thick cover and flying only short distances, except when on migration. Their capability for sustained flight is shown by the Carolina crake's trans-Atlantic flights; many have been recorded in the British Isles. The spotted crake has made trips in the opposite direction, turning up in Greenland and the West Indies.

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