Black Crake | Amaurornis flavirostris

The Black Crake is a common water bird found in marshes and wetland environments, it often feeds in the open away from water.

Robert's Birding Information On The Black Crake

African Black CrakeThe Black Crake is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Rallidae bird family group which includes birds such as Flufftails, Rails, Crakes, Gallinules, Swamphens, Moorhens, Coots.

The description for the Black Crake (Latin name Amaurornis flavirostris) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Amaurornis flavirostris can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 213 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 326. You will find a picture of the Black Crake on page 305.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Black Crake between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition.

The Black Crake is known in Afrikaans as Swartriethaan.

The Black Crake has a height of 23 cms and weighs around 90 gms. The head is coloured black while the bill is coloured yellow. The Amaurornis flavirostris has a white coloured throat, red legs and a black coloured back. The eyes are red.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is black.

Eyes are red.

Bill is yellow.

Legs are red.

Throat is white.

Back is black.

Photo's & Differentiating Between Male, Female & Juveniles

Please click the images below to make them larger:

Male Adult Adult African Black Crake
Female Adult Same as above.
Non Breeding Plumage N/A

Black Crake Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground.

The Black Crake is usually seen hunting for food within the tree foliage.

This bird has a specially adapted bill which helps it hunt for fish, crabs, shrimp and other aquatic animals in the water.

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten.

Black Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Black Crake is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 2 to 6 eggs and they are coloured white.

The bird builds its nest on the ground with figs, straw and leaves. The nest is placed under a bush to protect the young from predators.

The bird builds its nest above water as a means of protecting itself from predators and to be close to its main food source which includes fish, shrimp and frogs.

The bird is mainly found in the Savanna grasslands where it breeds and feeds.

The Black Crake is found in the Southern African wetlands, riverine forests and moist grasslands.

The bird is at home in riverine forests and close to water bodies such as lakes, dams and streams.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The Black Crake is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.