Small bird (about 24 cm or 9.5 in), somewhat larger than a blackbird. Cryptic plumage, of brown tones with stretch marks and clear and dark speckles. Dark speckling on the head and back with lighter stretch marks on the flanks. Eyebrows, throat, breast and belly of a slate grey tone. Yellowish undertail. Legs with bare tarsi, of a yellowish colour, with long and thin toes. Yellowish bill with a reddish base. Females with more discreet tones.
Wetlands, River and Riverside
Shallow freshwater wetlands, with medium plant cover on the border and oscillating water levels. The Spotted Crake prefers marshes, shallow ponds, perimeters of swampy areas and flooded fields.
Species present in the province only during its migratory passages. Very discreet daytime habits. It does not usually leave the thick greenery of the riparian vegetation, where it moves walking among the reeds. This bird breeds in the marshes of the Guadalquivir and in a few locations in the centre and north of the peninsula. Nest among the vegetation of the border of the wetland. One laying of 8 to 12 eggs. It consumes invertebrates and plant matter.
Uncommon species in the province. The shortage of freshwater lagoons in Malaga means that it can only be watched in the peripheral ponds of the Fuente de Piedra lagoon and in the lower courses of the main rivers, especially the Vélez and the Guadalhorce.
"Porzana" was the term used in Venice to name the Water Rail, a species with which crakes are related. Its common name in Spanish ("polluela pintoja", meaning "small speckled chick") refers to its size and to the speckled, spotted or mottled design of its plumage. Many waterfowl are concentrated in very specific places to change their plumage (moult) in a very short time just before beginning their autumnal migration. During this time they are temporarily unable to fly and are very vulnerable.