Red-legged Crake and earthworms

on 29th January 2010

KC Tsang recently photographed a Red-legged Crake (Rallina fasciata) feeding on earthworms. The crake, having pulled the worm out of the ground, proceeded to smash it on the ground to stun or kill it before swallowing. “I guess this is instinctive,” says KC, “to ensure that the prey will not be able to wriggle free when swallowing it. The hitting of the worm on the ground was so violent that particles of sand flew up, some of which remained stuck to the bird’s bill and forehead.”

An earlier post describes a crake catching worms among the leaf litter in the Singapore Botanic Gardens. Red-legged Crakes commonly forage in such a habitat, using its bill to turn over leaves and small stones to get at invertebrates. The sharp pointed bill also enables the bird to probe the soft soil for earthworms.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

2 Responses

  1. The Red Legged Crake has a clutch of 4, t young are covered in black down and eventually evlove into adult plumage over a period of about 2 to 3 months. In a similar way to the “white breasted water hen”.
    Spending some months watching and photographing them also with their young their preferred food is earth-worms, the young follow the parents usually 2 with male and 2 with the female.

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