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.

References and further reading

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

Wildlife of the Cape Peninsula - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 2001 - Page: 41

Wild About Johannesburg - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 1995 - Page: 35

The Birds of South Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Published: 1949 - Page: 84

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

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

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

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

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

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 2nd edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1957 - Page: 105

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

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

Freshwater Life - Author: C. Griffiths, J. Day & M. Picker - Published: 2015 - Page: 58

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

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

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

Birds of the Transkei - Author: C.D. Quickelberge - Published: 1989 - Page: 51

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Birds of the South Western Cape - Author: Joy Frandsen - Published: 0 - Page: 69

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

Bird Atlas of Natal - Author: Digby Cyrus and Nigel Robson - Published: 1980 - Page: 97

BirdLife South Africa


Top

List of South African Birds

Got a comment about the content on this page?





This website features affiliate links, meaning we’ll earn a small commission if you purchase through these links.

Copyright Steven Herbert Projects, 2013 - 2023. All rights reserved.

Privacy Policy - FAQ - Terms of use