White-browed Crake – plumage and calls

posted in: Morphology-Develop., Vocalisation | 0

“I met a pair of very accommodating White-browed Crakes (Porzana cinerea) today and was able to spend a long time watching and recording different calls.

“Some observations about plumage; a close-up of the face of one of the birds as seen above. Handbook of the Birds of the World (Vol. 2019) suggests that ‘in fresh plumage forehead and crown grey, becoming black with wear’. Both the birds I saw (above and below of one individual and top of the other) had darker scalps.

“A number of guides state that the bill is olive-green with a red base. But all the birds I have seen over the years have a yellow-orange bill with a red base; unless there is some change with breeding and I strike only these birds.

“The image above contains a sonogram and waveform of the call I hear the least often but I am increasingly convinced this is a territorial call. A recording of the call is located HERE. It is a long call lasting 7-9 seconds (6 recordings) and is best described as a trill (or a horse neighing). Often both partners in the pair join together in making this complex call. It starts loud and continues like this for 4-5 seconds before winding down slowly and repeated later.

“This call is the one most often recorded (see xeno-canto HERE, much softer and less noticed.”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
30th October 2019

Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Habitat: Ex-mining pools, fish farming, secondary growth

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