Your Christmas Shopping for a Song

Date posted: 04-Dec-2017

Aka - The Grand Christmas Shopping Expedition to Tiritiri Matangi Island Shop Dreading..

2018 Photo Comp opens for entries

Date posted: 27-Nov-2017

The 2018 Photo Competition is now open for entries. Click here (/2018-photo-competition-tiritiri-mat..

New reports on ruru nesting and Island conservation

Date posted: 02-Oct-2017

Two new reports have been added to the website. The first gives details of a summer students..

2018 calendars now available

Date posted: 27-Sep-2017

Our latest calendar, beautifully illustrated with images taken on the Island, is now available fo..

Guided walks for photographers

Date posted: 21-Jun-2017

For a wonderful day of wildlife photography please join us on Tiritiri Matangi Island for a Ph..

Ferry discounts for Supporters

Date posted: 18-May-2017

Tiritiri Matangi Island, the perfect winter's day trip. The birds are at their best, warm up w..

More kiwi for the Island

Date posted: 04-Apr-2017

In 1993 and 1995, sixteen little spotted kiwi were released on Tiritiri Matangi Island. The ma..

2017 Photo Competition

Date posted: 22-Mar-2017

It is that time of year again when we are looking for entries for our photo competition (and phot..

The 2017 concert

Date posted: 05-Feb-2017

This year's concert promises to be another wonderful and unique experience. Click here (/concert-..

Shorebird Film Festival at Devonport

Date posted: 26-Oct-2016

Click here (/miscellaneous documents/DevWaderFilms.jpg) for details of a forthcoming film festival c..

Spotless Crake

Scientific name:

 Porzana tabuensis plumbea

Maori Name:




Conservation status:

 Native. At risk - relict

Mainland status:

 Locally common in some swamps in N.I.

Size:  20cm, 45g




 August - February


 Invertebrates, seeds, fruit

This small, dark, secretive rail is more often heard than seen. The head and underparts are leaden grey with a bluish sheen, the upperparts are dark brown and the undertail is black barred with white. The short bill is black, the eye and eye-ring are red and the legs reddish in colour. The varied calls include a sharp ‘pit-pit’, a repeated ‘book’ and a distinctive rolling ‘purrrrrrrr’.

The spotless crake eats worms, snails, spiders, tadpoles, insect larvae and seeds of aquatic plants and fallen fruits.

Breeding is from August to February. The bulky, cup-shaped nest is composed of grasses and sedge. On the mainland it is sited half to a metre above the water but on islands is often under dense cover on the ground. The clutch of 2 – 4 eggs is incubated by both parents for 20 – 22 days. The black downed chicks leave the nest within two days and are looked after by both parents until they reach adult size at 4 – 5 months old.

On Tiritiri Matangi numbers of spotless crake vary, probably depending on the conditions. They are often heard and sometimes seen around the edges of the ponds, but can occur almost anywhere in the bush areas.

Discover more about spotless crake at New Zealand Birds Online.

Photography by:  Kay Milton ©

References: Heather, B.D.; Robertson, H.A. 2000 The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand. Auckland, Viking.