At 19-22.5 cm length, Spotted Crakes are slightly smaller than Water Rails, from which they are readily distinguished by the short straight bill, yellow with a red base. Adults have mainly brown upperparts and blue-grey breast, with dark barring and white spots on the flanks. They have green legs with long toes, and a short tail which is buff underneath. Immature Spotted Crakes are similar, but the blue-grey is replaced by brown. The downy chicks are black, as with all rails.

Habitat and Distribution

Their breeding habitat is marshes and sedge beds across temperate Europe into western Asia.


These birds probe with their bill in mud or shallow water, also picking up food by sight. They mainly eat insects and aquatic animals.


They nest in a dry location in marsh vegetation, laying 6-15 eggs.

Calls and Songs

They are then noisy birds, with a distinctive repetitive whiplash-like hwuit, hwuit call.