Australian Spotted Crake

This large crake can be distinguished from the smaller Baillon’s Crake by its all-white undertail and two-tone bill, which is olive-green with a red base to the upper mandible. Both crakes are, however, mottled brown and black above, spotted with white, and have black and white barring on the belly. (The Spotless Crake is chiefly grey-brown with bright orange legs and feet. The White-browed Crake has no black barring on the underparts and has a conspicuous white eyebrow). Crakes inhabit thickly vegetated swamps and lagoons, usually around inland rivers and estuaries.

Found in thickly vegetated lagoons and swamplands, this large crake is distinguished from other crakes by its all-white undertail, two-tone olive-green and red bill.  The upperparts are mottled brown and black, spotted with white, and its underparts are barred black and white with a blue-grey breast.   Found in both eastern and western Australia, the Australian Spotted Crake is somewhat of a nomad.  Although it is normally found in coastal areas, it suddenly appears in inland areas, only to disappear as mysteriously and suddenly as it appeared.  As with most crakes, this is a relatively shy bird, darting backwards and forwards in search of food, insects, molluscs and aquatic plants, or skulking in the shadows.  Although common, these secretive habits make it difficult to observe, but patience is often rewarded with good glimpses of birds as they appear to forage amongst the mud or shallow water, apparently oblivious to the presence of a quiet observer.

Scientific name: Porzana fluminea

Size: 18 to 21 cm