Fun Spotted Crake Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Oct 20, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Nov 09, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Spotted crake facts are interesting.

 The scientific name of the spotted crake is Porzana porzana and they belong to the family Rallidae along with some other birds like rails, coots, crakes, and gallinules.

They look very similar to the water rail of the family of rails from which they are distinguished by the differences in size and length of their bill. The distribution of these crakes is not threatened currently however, they are partially vulnerable to habitat modifications both by natural and man-made causes.

They are intensely threatened by habitat modifications and wetland destruction in Africa.

55% of the total population belongs to Europe, the global population is therefore calculated to be 590,000-910,000 mature individuals which are approximated to be around 500,000-999,999 mature individuals. This population distribution estimate of the species is the most recent one and their number is believed to be stable.

Increasing water levels due to climatic changes or because of changes in artificial drainage systems are affecting their number adversely. To know more about this bird, keep on reading these facts.

 For similar content check out Galápagos mockingbird and lucifer hummingbird

Spotted Crake Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a spotted crake?

A spotted crake (Porzana porzana) is a type of rare Old World water bird that lives across Europe and western Asia.

What class of animal does a spotted crake belong to?

The spotted crake (Porzana porzana) of Gruiformes order and Rallidae family belongs to the class Aves, the common class for all types of birds like rails, coots, crakes, and gallinules.

How many spotted crakes are there in the world?

The global population of the spotted crake (Porzana porzana) is estimated to be around 100,000-1,000,000 total individuals. This equates to a population of 500,000-999,999 mature individuals living throughout the range.

In reality, the population status is based on the total number of European spotted crakes which apparently forms 55% of the total population approximately. In 2015, Birdlife International located 161,000-251,000 breeding or lekking males distributed across their breeding range in Europe. This corresponds to a total population of 323,000-501,000 mature individuals in the European range.

Where does a spotted crake live?

Spotted crakes are Old World birds that are found in Europe and western Asia. The spotted crake distribution extends from the British Isles up to southern Scandinavia in the north and east Spain in the south.

They enter the west Asian range through the Balkans and continue up to Kazakhstan, northwest Siberia, China, and Mongolia. They are also found in western to central Russia in the summer. Migration takes place towards the south in the winters.

These birds from the Mediterranean area migrate to Africa and the Middle East in the winter while some of them swim to Pakistan and India. There are also crakes in Australia called Australian spotted crakes with similar features to the spotted crake.

What is a spotted crake's habitat?

Spotted crakes are shallow water birds that inhabit freshwater wetlands covered densely with sedges and rushes. They prefer a mixture of muddy and moist water beds with a shallow substrate.

The presence of dense floating vegetation in their habitats is a must for crakes. The optimum place for this bird is the wetlands where the range of water depths varies seasonally. The suitable areas where the species can be found include permanent or temporary marshes, dams, meadows, sewage ponds, and flooded grasslands.

They forage in mudflats and reed beds. Some birds tend to migrate to different habitable lands with changing water levels.

Who does spotted crake live with?

The species of spotted crakes are believed to be solitary birds but most of the data regarding their lifestyle and flocking behavior is missing. This is because it is a very secretive species.

It is very rare to see a crake, rather they can be heard more often. During the breeding season, the adults can be seen in monogamous pairs.

However, the adults live together only during the breeding season and bid farewell to their respective partners as soon as the chicks fledge the nest. Occasionally, these birds are seen to forage in small groups of two to four individuals especially when they are migrating.

How long does a spotted crake live?

There is very little data regarding the lifespan of the species of crakes. So the number of years a spotted crake stays alive is unknown.

How do they reproduce?

Spotted crakes breed during the summer months and their breeding season lasts from April to July in Europe. Breeding only occurs in monogamous pairs and they mate for life but this bird does not live with its partner throughout the year.

The pair-bond is maintained only during the breeding season. Apart from the winter quarters, they are also observed to be territorial in the breeding season.

The nest is generally placed on vegetation but can also be built over water. The female bird lays around 8-12 eggs in a single clutch.

Each egg is laid after intervals of one to two days and the eggs hatch after an incubation period of 18-19 days for each egg. The total incubation period of the species lasts for 24 days and the eggs are incubated by both adults.

The young chicks fledge the nest 45 days after they come out from the eggs. These birds reach sexual maturity a year after they are born.

What is their conservation status?

Spotted crakes are listed as a species of Least Concern in the Red List produced by the International Union for Conservation of Nature or the IUCN. The bird species has a large distribution throughout Europe and western Asia.

The extensive range does not let them fall under the threshold of endangered or threatened species. Apart from that, the population of this bird is also quite high to be recognized as threatened.

The number seems to have declined over the past centuries in Europe.

Their habitats in Africa are also being destroyed presently due to wetland modifications and they are considered to be threatened there. Despite the fluctuations in the breeding populations, they are not globally threatened and their conservation status is evaluated to be Least Concern

Spotted Crake Fun Facts

What does the spotted crake look like?

The species of spotted crake is a medium-sized waterbird with gray-brown plumage from head to breast with a pointed bill. The adults have a bluish-gray breast with olive to gray-brown underparts.

The short straight bill is slightly shorter than the rails and is yellow in color. Dark brown bars and white spots are present on the flanks.

They have short tails and long legs. The legs are green in color. Both sexes look more or less similar but the females are more intensely spotted than the males on breast and face.

The short straight yellow bill had a greenish tip and a red spot on the upper mandible. The juveniles have tiny white spots and the neck and breast are mottled with gray-brown color.

The spotted crake call can be heard in duets.

How cute are they?

The round and pudgy structure of spotted crakes, like that of the Virginia rail, make these birds look cute.

How do they communicate?

Spotted crakes communicate mainly by vocalizations. The spotted crake call sounds like an ascending whistle and is often heard in duets.

How big is a spotted crake?

The length of the spotted crake ranges between 8.6-9.4 in (22-24 cm). They are smaller in length than the corncrake species.

How fast can a spotted crake move?

Spotted crakes are rare birds that swim occasionally. The speed of their movement is unknown.

How much does a spotted crake weigh?

The weight of the spotted crake ranges between 2-5.2 oz (57-147 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male and female birds are referred to as cock and hen respectively.

What would you call a baby spotted crake?

A baby spotted crake is known as a chick.

What do they eat?

The spotted crake bird has an omnivorous diet. Their diet includes aquatic plants and invertebrates. They feed on earthworms, mollusks, crustaceans, and insects. They also eat seeds, roots, shoots, and algae.

Are they poisonous?

No, they are not poisonous.

Would they make a good pet?

No, the bird does not make a good pet.

Did you know...

Generally, spotted crakes forage throughout the daytime and at night, they roost in dense vegetation. However, during their winter migration, the behavior of these birds alters. In migration, these birds forage at night and roost by the day.

Spotted Crake Breeding Habitat

The breeding habitat of spotted crakes is similar to the winter habitat of the species. They breed in shallow water lakes or swamps among a large variety of vegetation like sedges, rushes, and shrubs. Some of them nest over water, on the branches hanging over the water from nearby trees. Others nest on the ground.

The nest is often located at the center of the vegetation. The adults build a thick cup-shaped nest together with dry leaves, low shrub, rushes, and stems. They line the nests with fine grass.

Why is it called spotted crake?

The scientific name of the species of spotted crakes, Porzana porzana, is derived from a Venetian term that means 'small rail'. They are named this because of their resemblance to water rails.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these ruddy crake facts and little crake facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable bird coloring pages.

Second image by Marek Szczepanek

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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