November 14, 2017 – Paint-billed Crake (Neocrex erythrops)
These crakes are found mostly in wet grassy areas in a spotty range from Costa Rica south to northern Argentina, including the Galapagos Islands. Known as a mysterious species, they can be difficult to observe, but have been found outside of their usual range somewhat frequently. Their diet is not well known, but they likely eat insects, millipedes, and seeds. Little is known about their nesting habits, though incubating parents often remain on the nest until the last moment when approached, helping to camouflage the eggs.
October 29, 2017 – White-browed Crake (Amaurornis cinerea)
These crakes are found in parts of Southeast Asia, Polynesia, and Northern Australia. They eat invertebrates, such as earthworms, slugs, leaches, and insects, as well as frog spawn and small fish and the leaves and seeds of aquatic plants. Their shallow, cup-shaped nests are built from grass and marsh plants, near water in reeds or other plants. Both parents incubate the eggs.
August 10, 2017 – Red-and-white Crake (Laterallus leucopyrrhus)
These crakes are found in parts of Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. Foraging on the ground, sometimes in leaf litter, they eat invertebrates and some seeds. Monogamous pairs build ball-shaped nests with side entrances from grasses, reeds, and other plants. Both parents incubate the eggs and care for the chicks, which can feed themselves soon after hatching.
January 2, 2017 – Spotless Crake, Sooty Rail, Pūweto, Puweto, or Putoto (Porzana tabuensis)
These small, secretive rails are found in New Zealand, Australia, the Philippines, New Guinea, and many nearby Pacific islands. Omnivores, they eat the seeds, fruit, and leaves of aquatic plants, as well as various invertebrates, including mollusks, crustaceans, worms, snails, and insects. They build nests, and often a few nest-like platforms, from sedges and grasses. Monogamous pairs incubate the eggs and care for the chicks, which are able to capture live prey by the time they are three days old. Though they are classified as a species of Least Concern, they are threatened by habitat loss and possibly predation in parts of their range.
March 18, 2015 – Black Crake (Amaurornis flavirostra)
These crakes are native to wet areas of sub-Saharan Africa. They feed mainly on aquatic invertebrates and small vertebrates, the seeds of some water plants, and occasionally the eggs of other bird species. Black Crakes sometimes sit on the backs of larger mammals, like warthogs, to scavenge parasites. Because of their long toes, they can walk across lily pads as they hunt. Their red legs are strikingly bright during breeding season, but become a duller red the rest of the year.