Order: Gruiformes

Family: Rallidae

Scientific name: Porzana pusilla, Pallas, 1776

IUCN Red list status-Least Concern

Did you know?

  1. Baillon’s Crake is the smallest among the Crakes found in India.


The Baillon’s Crake is a small bird measuring 16 to 18 cm in length and 20 to 55 grams in weight. It has a short, straight, and yellow bill. The long legs and toes are green and eyes are red. The upperparts are brown with some white markings. The face, throat and under parts are grey. Sometimes the throat and belly may be white. The short tail is barred black and white underneath. Both sexes look similar.


The Baillon’s Crake feed on small fish, invertebrates, aquatic insects, terrestrial insects, worms and molluscs. Sometimes vegetable matters like seeds, grass, shoots and berries are also taken by them. Food may be plucked from the surface or the bill may be fully immersed into the water to catch aquatic prey. The forage time is mainly early morning and late afternoon and it is done solitarily and rarely in pairs or groups.


The Baillon’s Crake inhabit freshwater, brackish or saline wetlands, coastal marshes, swamps, flooded meadows, irrigated and flooded agricultural fields, fish farms etc. In India it is seen as a winter visitor throughout the union. At that time it is also found in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Andaman Islands.

Reproductive Behaviour

The breeding time of Baillon’s Crake is during May to August. They are generally monogamous. In courtship the male uses harsh rattle calls to attract female. The nest is a pad of grass at the base of a bush in a swamp or flooded rice fields built by both birds. The territory around the nest is fiercely defended by the birds. Normally 5-8 olive or pale brown eggs are laid. The incubation of 20-21 days and young ones care is shared by both parent birds.


The call is a loud rattling “trrr-trrr” and “tyiuk” sound.

Related Species and Sub Species

  • Spotted Crake (Porzana porzana).
  • Ruddy Breasted Crake (Porzana fusca).
  • Little Crake (Porzana parva).
  • Porzana pusilla affinis of New Zealand.
  • Porzana pusilla mira of Borneo.
  • Porzana pusilla intermedia of Europe and Africa.

Migratory Behaviour

Rare Winter Visitor.