Spotted Crake

Scientific name: Porzana porzana

Did you know: The Spotted Crake, a bird often mistaken for the Starling, performs a unique jerky swim similar to the Moorhen.

What Do Spotted Crakes Look Like? (how to identify them)

Spotted Crakes are medium-sized birds comparable to Starlings. Adult Spotted Crakes are distinguished by their brownish back with dark streaks and a distinctive blue and grey face. Their breast, a mix of olive-brown, is sprinkled with whitish flecks and spots. 

Look for their warm buff-coloured under tail and their habit of moving near the ground in dense cover, often with a tail flick.

Differences Between Male And Female Spotted Crakes

Males and females are similar in appearance. However, during the breeding season, males may be more vocal and visible as they establish territories and attract mates.

What Do Spotted Crakes Eat?

These birds are omnivorous, feeding on a variety of snails, worms, insects, small fish, and plant material. They often probe in mud or shallow water for food.

Where Do Spotted Crakes Live? (inc. migration info)

Spotted Crakes inhabit wetlands, thriving in sedge beds and marshes. They breed across temperate Europe into western Asia, laying 6–15 eggs in dry spots within marsh vegetation. Notably migratory, they spend winters in Pakistan and Africa, arriving in the UK around April for the summer.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Spotted Crakes)

Spotted Crakes are vocal during the breeding season with a distinctive, repetitive whiplash-like ‘hwuit, hwuit’ call. These calls are often the best indicator of their presence, as the birds are otherwise very secretive.

Fun Spotted Crake Facts (kid friendly)

  • Spotted Crakes are about the size of a Starling, measuring 22-24 cm in length.
  • They can weigh between 70-110g.
  • Their wingspan stretches from 37-42cm.
  • In the wild, you can spot them by their jerky swimming style.
  • They are summer visitors to the UK and winter in Africa.
  • Despite their small size, they lay up to 15 eggs!
  • These birds are great at hide-and-seek, often heard but rarely seen.
  • Their legs are a unique greenish colour.
  • Spotted Crakes are part of the Rallidae family, which includes rails and coots.
  • Conservationists pay special attention to them, as they are considered an Amber conservation status bird.

Spotted Crake Images

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Male
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Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile

Facts About The Spotted Crake

Diet: Insects, snails, worms, small fish and plant materials.
Bird Family: Rails, crakes and coots
Length: 22-24cm
Wingspan: 37-42cm
Weight: 70-110g
Scientific Name: Porzana porzana

The Spotted Crake Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November