Black crake

Amaurornis flavirostra

The black crake is a waterbird native to sub-Saharan Africa. It is a member of a family that includes the coots, rails and gallinules.

Black crake behavior and facts

  • Black crakes are named for their dark-colored plumage.
  • They have yellow-green bills, red eyes and red legs.
  • Black crakes live in a variety of wetlands, including ponds, flooded areas and estuaries.
  • They feed on aquatic invertebrates, small frogs and tadpoles, insects, small fish and the eggs of some birds.
  • Adult black crakes lose the ability to fly for several weeks when molting their flight feathers.

Reproduction and young

  • When conditions are suitable, black crakes can breed year-round.
  • Black crakes make floating nests out of aquatic plants or on land hidden in grass.


IUCN Least concern

Black crakes, the Oregon Zoo and you

The zoo's black crakes live in the Howard Vollum Aviary exhibit.