Marsh crake

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Marsh crake

Declining (NZ TCS)[1]
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Gruiformes
Genus: Porzana
Species:
P. pusilla affinis
Binomial name
Porzana pusilla affinis
Synonyms
  • Zapornia pusilla affinis

The marsh crake or koitareke (Porzana pusilla affinis) is a bird in the family Gruiformes. It is a subspecies of Baillon's crake. It lives in New Zealand.[1][2][3]

Appearance[change | change source]

The marsh crake is about half the size of a blackbird. It is about 15-18 cm long and it weighs 30 to 40 grams. It has a short tail and long legs. The feathers on its back are deep brown with black and white marks. The feathers on its belly are gray and white. Its eyes are bright red. Its beak and legs are green. The young birds have brown bellies instead of gray and white.[1]

Habitat and food[change | change source]

Marsh crakes live in wetlands, for example marshes. They also live among the reed plants in places where rivers meet the ocean. They can live on wet pastures and willow tree forests too. There are more marsh crakes on New Zealand's South Island than on North Island.[1]

Scientists do not know much about what the marsh crake does. They think it might migrate like other Baillon's crakes do, but they are not sure.[1]

The marsh crake eats animals without bones but it also eats the seeds of water plants.[1]

Breeding[change | change source]

Marsh crakes form one-on-one pairs to lay eggs. The males fly courtship flights to impress the females. They build nests out of dry plants and hide them in sedge. The female lays 5-7 eggs at a time. Both the male and female crake sit on the eggs. The eggs take 16-20 days to hatch. The chicks have black and brown feathers.[3]

Threats[change | change source]

The marsh crake is declining, which means there are fewer of them than there were, and the numbers are still going down. This is because human beings drain their marshes to turn them into dry land.[1]

Also, human beings brought cats, dogs, weasel-like animals, rats to New Zealand. All of these animals can kill the birds, their eggs, and their chicks.[1]

Less often, a marsh crake will be hit by a car or fly into a power line. If human beings make too much noise near a nest, the parent birds will run away and the eggs will die.[1]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 "Marsh crake/koitareke". New Zealand Department of Conservation. Retrieved September 15, 2021.
  2. "Marsh crake: Porzana pusilla (Pallas, 1776)". New Zealand Birds Online. Retrieved September 15, 2021.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Baillon's Crake: Porzana pusilla". Birdlife Australia. Retrieved September 16, 2021.