Wednesday, 2 April 2014

183. Spotted Crake (Porzana porzana)

If you think finding a Water Rail is difficult, try locating a Spotted Crake. Like their relatives, they tend to skulk around a lot in thick vegetation, although in the case of Spotted Crakes this is generally of a slightly drier nature - damp meadows with long grass, bogs and sedges, but not reedbeds. They are reluctant fliers and are more likely just to scurry deeper into vegetation if disturbed. They are slightly smaller than Water Rails and as well as the size difference, can be told apart by their shorter, chunkier bill, greenish legs and more finely patterned plumage. Juveniles look similar but lack any grey colouring on the face, breast and throat. In the UK and much of Europe, Spotted Crakes are rare and localised (or are they just hiding?), and are migratory, spending the winter in parts of the Mediterranean and Africa.

Spotted Crake, ©Noel Reynolds, via Flickr Creative Commons.
Spotted Crake painting.
I was concentrating so much on trying to convey the plumage details, that I appear to have neglected the colours and overall shape somewhat.

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