There are five subspecies of marsh crake, three in Africa, Europe and Asia, palustris in Australia and Papua New Guinea and affinis in New Zealand.
The marsh crake inhabits both fresh and salt water swamps and also the marshy banks of rivers. It runs quickly among the vegetation and on floating raupo, typha muelleri. It swims well but seldom flies.
Being very shy and secretive birds, the nesting habits of the marsh crake do not appear to have been observed in New Zealand. In Australia, the nest is described as being made of rushes and acquatic plants loosely woven together and concealed in rushes growing in shallow water. There are two entrances to the nest through the vegetation enclosing it.
Other common names: —
18 cm., 40 g., about the size of a skylark, like a minature banded rail, but upperparts brown streaked with black and white, sides of the head and underparts blue grey, flanks abdomen and undertail are black and white barred, bill, legs and feet greenish, eye red.
Where to find: —
Rare but scattered in raupo swamps of the North, South and Stewart Islands.
Illustration description: —
Gould, John, Birds of Australia, 1840-48.
Buller, Walter Lawry, Birds of New Zealand, 1873.
Heather, B., & Robertson, H., Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand, 2000.
Oliver, W.R.B., New Zealand Birds, 1955.
Page date & version: —
Wednesday, 28 May 2014; ver2009v1