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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Black Crake

Afrikaans name: Swartriethaan

Black Crake in Kruger National Park

A Black Crake looks for food in a stream

Photo © Steven Herbert

Amaurornis flavirostra

The Black Crake is a striking bird that belongs to the Rail and Crake family.

It is not as shy as most members of this family but it does normally keep close to the reeds so it can dive into cover as soon as there is a sign of danger or other disturbance.

Male and female are similar with black plumage, yellow bill and red legs.

Black Crakes are normally found in marshes or other bodies of water where there is plenty of cover.

They make their nest amongst the reeds or on the bank amongst vegetation. Sometimes they place their nest off the ground in a bush.

The Black Crake eats a variety of food including frogs, fish, invertebrates and seeds.

Black Crake

Photo © Steven Herbert

Above - Black Crakes belong to the Rail family which are renowned for not showing themselves out in the open. They skulk around reedbeds making intersting calls but very rarely venturing out into the open. The Black Crake doesn't quite fit the mold. Yes, it often skulks around the reeds making its call but sometimes they feel totally at home wandering around the edges of dams and ponds.

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References and further reading

A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: O.P.M. Prozesky - Year Published: 1983 - Page: 94

A First Guide to South African Birds - 6th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Year Published: 1959 - Page: 162

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Year Published: 1975 - Page: 162

Animals of the Kruger National Park - Author: G. de Graaff - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 73

Birds of Southern Africa - Kruger National Park - Author: Kenneth Newman - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 38

Birds of the South Western Cape - Author: Joy Frandsen - Year Published: - Page: 69

Birds of the Transvaal - Author: Tarboton, Kemp and Kemp - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 77

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Year Published: 1999 - Page: 24

Common Birds of the North Coast - Author: Bing Comrie - Year Published: 2005 - Page: 22

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 78

Ian Sinclair's Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair - Year Published: 1988 - Page: 104

Newman's Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Year Published: 1984 - Page: 102

Newman's Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Year Published: 2000 - Page: 102

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Year Published: 1949 - Page: 84

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Year Published: 1975 - Page: 135

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Year Published: 1981 - Page: 141

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 191

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 188

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 144

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 146

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Year Published: 1989 - Page: 6

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 74

List of South African Birds

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