Little Crake

Little Crake   Porzana   parva


  • Porzana : Local Venetian names for smaller crakes
  • Parva : latin word for “ Small”

 Vernacular Names: Hindi: Chota Crake, Mar: Choti Fatakadi

Distribution in India: Passage migrant in North-West India.

Description:  Size of 18-20 cm. The adult male has blue-grey face and underparts, with narrow white bars on rear flanks and black and white barring on undertail-coverts. The female has the blue-grey in male replaced by buff except for pale ash grey supercilium, lores and cheeks, and whitish chin and throat, while barring from flanks to undertail-coverts paler and less distinct. Both have a slim shape, relatively long neck, wings, tail and legs. It has a barred undertail-covert. It has pale olive brown stripe along scapulars noticeable at rest and in flight; broad pale inner edge to tertials, red spot at base of green bill; green legs and feet; much greater primary projection in folded wing; longer tail and stronger, less fluttering flight.

Habitat: It is found in breeding season typically in temperate and steppe zones, usually in lowlands but occasionally up to 2000 m. It frequents dense emergent vegetation of freshwater wetlands, including margins of lakes and rivers, and flooded woodland.  Post breeding season occurs in seasonally inundated grassland. It frequents rice fields in both breeding and wintering areas. It prefers more deeply flooded habitats and moves freely over floating vegetation and climbs easily up stem.

Food Habits: It eats insects, especially water beetles and also Hemiptera, Neuroptera, and adult and larval Diptera, seeds of aquatic plants, worms, gastropods, spiders and water mites and aquatic vegetation such as young shoots. It forages while swimming, wading or walking over stems and leaves. It eats food from mud, water surface or vegetation but does not probe and can dive to catch the prey.

Breeding Habits: They breed in May-Aug in Central Europe.  They are monogamous and territorial, pair-bond maintained only during breeding season. The nest is a shallow cup of plant stems and leaves; placed in thick vegetation near or over water, often raised on tussock or platform of dead material.   Both sexes build the nest; male also builds brood platforms around breeding nest. They lay a clutch of 7–9 eggs, laid at daily intervals. They also lays any replacements after egg loss. The incubation period is 21–23 days and incubation is done by both sexes. The hatching is asynchronous and chicks are precocial and nidifugous. They are fed and cared for by both parents while small. The chicks become self-feeding after a few days. The young can fly at 45–50 days, when fully fledged.