Striped Crake (aenigmatolimnas marginalis)

Striped Crake

[order] GRUIFORMES | [family] Rallidae | [latin] aenigmatolimnas marginalis | [UK] Striped Crake | [FR] Marouette rayee | [DE] Graukehl-Sumpfhuhn | [ES] Polluela Culirroja | [NL] Afrikaans Porseleinhoen


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Cyanolimnas marginalis
Aenigmatolimnas marginalis AF wc, se

Physical charateristics

Male dark brown with white streaks on upperparts; anterior underparts pale cinnamon; rear underparts orangy- to reddish brown. Female has gray foreparts; juvenile duller and plainer.

wingspan min.: cm wingspan max.: cm
size min.: 18 cm size max.: 21 cm
incubation min.: 17 days incubation max.: 18 days
fledging min.: 28 days fledging max.: 18 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 4  
      eggs max.: 5  


Africa : Westcentral, Southeast


During breeding this species shows a preference for areas on higher ground with shallow pools, muddy patches and grasses up to 1 m tall, generally avoiding tall, dense vegetation in permanent marshes, areas with water more than 20-30 cm deep and streams liable to heavy flooding. It typically inhabits seasonally inundated tussocky grasslands which dry out and burn in the dry season, as well as river flood-plains, temporary pans, short-grass dambos, old rice-fields, and the edges of marshes, ponds and ditches. The species’s habitat requirements on migration and during the non-breeding season are less well known, although they appear to be similar to breeding season requirements. Habitats frequented during this season include inundated grassland and pool edges, beds of fine reeds near streams, short sedge and grass clumps fringing shallow water and marshy savanna with small scattered thickets.


The nest is a shallow bowl or platform of vegetation, typically constructed 10-25 cm above the water in a tuft of grass, or occasionally floating or positioned above damp ground. The species sometimes builds false nests which it abandons before completion. In captivity is sequentially polyandrous, female mating with two or more males. Breeds mainly during rains. Nest a bowl of grass or sedges in vegetation over water. Eggs: four to five. Incubation: 17-18 days, by male only; young cared for by male; fledge at 28 days; one to three broods per season.

Feeding habits

Its diet consists of earthworms, small snails, spiders, beetles, grasshoppers, flies, moths, insect larvae, small fish and tadpoles.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be small, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
This species is a wet-season migrant, moving between ephemeral habitats in response to seasonal rainfall and drought. It breeds during the rains1 in polyandrous groups, with territorial males nesting solitarily. The species forages diurnally with most activity occurring in the late afternoon and evening, roosting at night in grass clumps or on roosting platforms in vegetation.
Striped Crake status Least Concern


Imperfectly known. In W Africa recorded Ghana only in rains but status uncertain; resident Nigeria but breeds in N only in Rains, and latitudinal movements probably occur, night migrants being recorded Dec; in N Gabon occurs irregularly Nov-Mar and night migrants recorded ; status elsewhere uncertain. Present Kenya May-Sept and Nov; breeds during rains; night migrants recorded May and coastal movements May-Jul. From Tanzania southwards recorded in breeding areas Dec-Mar; much breeding habitat ephemeral so occurrences irregular and periods of residence may be short; odd birds may remain during dry season if suitable habitat persists. night migrants recorded S Tanzania, May and Dec, and N Zambia, Mar. Sept record from S Namibia, and 7 scattered records from South Africa (Mar-Jun), are attributed to vagrancy, possible coastal and inland migration, and birds displaced from normal wintering areas by drought conditions; rains records from Nile floodplain, Transvaal, suggest that breeding range may extend to South Africa in years of good rainfall. In S Africa assumed to be a wet-season breeding visitor which treats towards equatorial regions after breeding. Vagrant to Algeria in Jan, Libya in Feb and Aldabra in Dec

Distribution map

Striped Crake distribution range map

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