Pūweto, Spotless crake

Spotless crake

From Buller's Birds of New Zealand, 1873. Spotless crake (r).

Pūweto, Spotless crake

S hy and so elusive, this bird, like the marsh crake, is so seldom seen that its existence is hardly acknowledged. Certainly it is only recently that I have seen these birds and having learned that the place to look for them is in and around raupo, typha muelleri, dominated swamps or wetlands. Indeed, any quite small patch of raupo more than likely will harbour these birds. They are seldom found in flax dominated wetlands.

Spotless crake are more often heard than seen and have a wide variety of calls which are usually heard at dawn and dusk. There are sharp ‘pit–pit’ calls, a single or repeated ‘book’ and a distinctive rolling ‘purr’ call like an alarm clock going off and gradually running down.

plumbea is the subspecies of Australia and New Zealand and the nominate tabuensis the subspecies of the Philippines, Moluccas, New Guinea, Micronesia, Melanesnia and south western Polynesia.

Spotless crake and Banded rail

From Bullers's Birds of New Zealand, 1888. Known at that time as the Swamp rail (l) and the Land rail (r). Now known as the Spotless crake (PÅ«weto) and the Banded rail.

Kingdom: Animalia.
Phylum: Chordata.
Class: Aves.
Order: Gruiformes (Ralliformes).
Family: Rallidae.
Genera: Porzana.
Species: tabuensis.
Sub Species: plumbea
Other common names:  —

Putoto, sooty rail

Description:  —  Native bird

20 cm., 45 g., head and underparts leaden grey with a bluish sheen, upperparts dark brown, undertail black barred with white, bill black, eye and eye–ring red, legs reddish in colour.

Where to find:  — 

Common in some offshore islands. May also be found in the raupo swamps of the northern part of the North Island and the Manawatu/Horowhenua dune lakes. Sparse in the South Island.

Illustration description: — 

Buller, Walter Lawry, Birds of New Zealand, 1st ed., 1873.

Buller, Walter Lawry, Birds of New Zealand, 2nd ed., 1888.

Gould, John, Birds of Australia, 1840–48.

Gould crakes
Reference(s): — 

Heather, B., & Robertson, H., Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand, 2000.

Oliver, W.R.B., New Zealand Birds, 1955.

Page date & version: — 

Monday, 5 December, 2023; ver2023v1