Fun Henderson Crake Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Henderson Crake Facts For Kids

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The Henderson crake (Zapornia atra; synonyms - Nesophylax ater, Porzana atra) are members of the Gruiformes order and belong to the Rallidae family of birds. These birds are endemic to Henderson island which is a part of the Pitcairn islands ranges in the southeast Pacific Ocean.

Henderson island crakes are a vulnerable species and have seen a steep population decline over the years due to the introduction of invasive species like rats and cats in their native habitat range. Thankfully, swift conservation efforts were put in place to control the population decline of this bird and large-scale extermination of rats was put into place to help this bird to manage a stable population.

Henderson island crake is currently at a stable population due to these efforts and is gaining more individuals on the island and in the future, will hopefully get back to its old population and continue to thrive on the island.

If you liked these true facts about Henderson crake, then you'll surely like these facts about Leghorn Chicken and Gunnison sage grouse.

Fun Henderson Crake Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Insects, spiders, eggs

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

2-3 eggs

How much do they weigh?

2.3-3.1 oz (65-88 g)

How long are they?


How tall are they?

7 in (18 cm)

What do they look like?

Deep black with greyish gloss

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Humans, Invasive Species

What is their conservation status?


Where you'll find them?

Forests, Thickets, Island Plateau, Coconut Groves


Henderson Island (Pitcairn Islands)









Henderson Crake Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Henderson crake?

Henderson crake (Zapornia atra) is a small bird species that are endemic to the natural habitat range of the Henderson Islands that is a part of the Pitcairn Islands. Henderson crake is also known as the North Rail, Red-eyed Crake, North's Crake, Henderson Rail, Henderson Island Rail, and the Henderson Island Crake.

What class of animal does a Henderson crake belong to?

Henderson crake (Zapornia atra) belongs to the Aves class of animals which consists of birds. The Henderson crake bird belongs to the Gruiformes Order, Rallidae family, and is related to birds in the Zapornia genus.

How many Henderson crakes are there in the world?

Using an IUCN Red List report dating back to 2016 as a citation, the population of these species of birds is estimated to be around 8,200 breeding and non-breeding birds. The need for a thorough search has led to the belief that these birds do not have a high amount of predators as a result of which predation level is low and the breeding rates are sufficient to recover the lost population in the natural habitat.

Where does a Henderson crake live?

The red-eyed crake (Zapornia atra) is endemic to the subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests on Henderson Island, a part of the Pitcairn Island group in the southeast Pacific ocean.

What is a Henderson crake's habitat?

The Henderson crake habitat is often found in dense to open forests on the Pitcairn island plateau, this habitat sees a large population of these bird species due to the presence of Timonius thickets. During the breeding season, the ground-dwelling Henderson crake will migrate locally in the search of food and nesting regions.

Who do Henderson crakes live with?

Since these birds are endemic to a small island population in the Pitcairn chain of islands, there is not much information about their social behavior, making it tough to understand the current social chain to see if they are related to social or solitary bird species.

How long does a Henderson crake live?

Based on the information provided by the IUCN Red List, the average lifespan of the Red-eyed crake (Zapornia atra) or the North Rail is 2.7 years.

How do they reproduce?

Not much is known about the sexual maturity in the Henderson crake male or female, but like with most members of the Rallidae family, the red-eyed crake also makes a nest on the ground.

These species of birds are monogamous even though there have been records of polyandry in a single case. Red-eyed crake has a breeding season that lasts from early July to late February. In this bird species, the male is the nest builder and will often be on the search for other birds that will assist them. Roosting nests are created separately as a means to see the young safe.

After fertilization, the Henderson crake female will lay two to three eggs which have an incubation period of 21 days. Both parents are involved in the incubation process and other members of the family will help in protecting the eggs or the young from dangers related to predation by mice and crabs. This bird species has a reproductive success rate of 43% during the breeding season which is directly related to the stable population distribution found in them.

What is their conservation status?

 The red-eyed crake, also known as the Henderson crake (Zapornia atra) or the North Rail has a current conservation status of a Vulnerable species. Alongside other members of the Zapornia genus, these too are an endemic species in dire need of conservation, or else they will become extinct since they are not part of the bird population in other parts of the world.

Henderson Crake Fun Facts

What do Henderson crakes look like?

The North rail or the Henderson crake (Zapornia atra) like other members of the genus Zapornia of the Rallidae family, is small in stature. North rail is flightless but has well-developed legs for running and transversing on the ground. The Henderson crake appearance makes it hard to see the bird because of its deep black plumage that has a greyish gloss. Their legs and feet along with their iris and eyering are red in color, this red helps the North rail see at night. North rail has a black bill with a yellowish-green tone at the base. Females can be differentiated from the male due to their duller yellowish-green coloration on the bill and plain red to orange legs.

Henderson Crake

How cute are they?

If you are in search of cuteness among the Zapornia genus, then you will be disappointed as the Henderson crake (Zapornia atra) is not much of a cute bird.

How do they communicate?

The Henderson crake (Zapornia atra) is most vocal during dawn and dusk as they make loud alarm-like calls. Loud churring calls can be heard as a duet by group members.

How big is a Henderson crake?

The Henderson island crake (Zapornia atra) grows to a maximum of 7 in (18 cm) in body size, it is 3 times larger than the smallest member of the Apodiformes order, the Bee hummingbird that grows only up to 1.9 in (5 cm)!

How fast can a Henderson crake fly?

The Henderson crake bird (Nesophylax ater) is not recognized for its flight speed just like other members of its genus as these birds prefer to stay on the ground and will fly only when in search of mates during the breeding season or for food sources.

How much does a Henderson crake weigh?

A lightweight bird, the Henderson island crake weighs between 2.3-3.1 oz (65-88 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

This bird is recognized as just a crake as there is no specific name assigned to either sex of the species.

What would you call a baby Henderson crake?

A Henderson crake baby is called a chick. Henderson crake eggs are often taken care of by helpers who keep predators away.

The juvenile Henderson crake feathers are greyer than the adults and have dusky feet.

What do they eat?

Henderson island crake is an opportunistic crake species and takes advantage of the seasonal increase in prey. The Henderson crake diet consists of beetles, snails, small insects, and skink eggs.

Are they poisonous?

No, these birds are not poisonous.

Would they make a good pet?

Unlike other members of the Gruiformers order, the Henderson island crake (Zapornia atra) is not a good pet as they cannot be procured in the pet trade due to their Vulnerable status. Even if you do manage to get this crake as a pet, it will only cause you trouble as it is a wild species and thus unsuitable as a pet.

Did you know...

The collective noun for a group of crakes is "box", "bowl" or "cob".

The Pitcairn island, a group of islands in the southeast Pacific Ocean consists of the Henderson, Oeno, and Ducie islands. Many species of endemic birds have gone etinct on Henderson Islands.

Henderson island crakes (Nesophylax ater) become prey to poison baits used in killing invasive species.

The Henderson crake endangered status has been avoided for a long period thanks to strict conservation efforts by the overseers of the Henderson Island region.

Like most members of the Rallidae family, the Henderson island crake too has rounded wings for short-distance travel.

How did Henderson crakes get their name?

The Henderson crake name is based on the name on the name of the region these birds are found in, the Henderson Islands.

Are Henderson crakes endangered?

The Henderson island crake (Nesophylax ater) is not an endangered species. However, they are a vulnerable species. Ever since 1988, Henderson Island, located in the southeast Pacific Ocean, has been given the status of a World Heritage Site and there are surveys to monitor the population of this bird on the island, this research provides the citation to state the population count of the birds on the island.

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 Bobwhite Quail facts and Mountain Chickadee facts pages.

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

*We've been unable to source an image of Henderson crake and have used an image of spotted crake instead as the main image. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of Henderson crake, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at [email protected]

Written By
Moumita Dutta

<p>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.</p>

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