a comprehensive resource of avian hand rearing techniques for captive bird populations

Black Crake

Amaurornis flavirostris

Gruiformes - Rallidae - Rails, moorhens & coots

Black Crake - 19 days old

© Joe Barkowski

Black Crake - 19 days old

Distribution: Sub Saharan Africa, from north edge of Shahel zone south to Cape.

Habitat: Freshwater wetland. Inhabits rank grass, sedges, reedbeds, swampy thickets; occurs in dense undergrowth of boggy clearings in forest.

Diet: Worms, molluscs, crustaceans, insects, small fish, small frogs and tadpoles. Eggs and nestlings.

Breeding: Nest is a deep, bulky bowl of reeds, sedges, creepers, grasses; placed in vegetation over water with rim 20-50cm above water; also nest on ground or in grass tussock near water. Both sexes build nest.

Clutch size: 2 - 6 eggs (usually 3) - laid at dailt intervals

Incubation: 13 - 19 days, incubated by both parents

Rearing: Chicks leave nest 1-3 days after hatching; fed and cared for by parents, helped by young of previous broods, for at least 3-6 weeks

Fledge age: Fly at 5-6 weeks

Maturity: 1 year


Protocol from Sedgwick County Zoo

View Sedgwick County Zoo protocol file >

Protocol established 2006
Used on 14 individuals
Success rate 100.00%


Protocol used for at least 5 individuals with over 75% success*
Used by 2 or more institutions 
Points on minimizing imprinting 
Birds went on to produce fertile eggs*
Birds went on to successfully parent rear 

Warning points

Please keep us up-to-date and contact us with your own updates or new protocols for rearing the Black Crake.


Del Hoya, J., Elliott, A. & Sargatal, J. eds. (1996). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol3. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.

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