email a friend
printable version
Little Crake Zapornia parva
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
Cramp, S.; Perrins, C. M. 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

Taxonomic note
Zapornia parva (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) was previously placed in the genus Porzana.

Porzana parva (Scopoli, 1769)

Trend justification
The overall population trend is decreasing, although some populations have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2006).

Behaviour Most populations of this species are fully migratory and migrate to wintering grounds from late-August to November, returning north from February-May, and arriving again on breeding grounds between March and April (del Hoyo et al. 1996) with breeding occurring between May and August (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species breeds in separate territories in solitary pairs or family groups (Urban et al. 1986, Snow and Perrins 1998), although in favourable habitat nests may be placed as close as 30-35 m apart (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Taylor and van Perlo 1998). Outside of the breeding season the species is usually seen singly (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Snow and Perrins 1998) although it may occur in groups on migration and in the Autumn it sometimes associates with Spotted Crake Porzana porzana (Taylor and van Perlo 1998). Habitat Breeding The species breeds in the lowlands (up to 2,000 m) in temperate and steppe zones (del Hoyo et al. 1996), extending into boreal regions if conditions are favourable (Taylor and van Perlo 1998). It inhabits natural or semi-natural eutrophic freshwater wetlands with still or slow-flowing water (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Taylor and van Perlo 1998), and requires tall stands of emergent vegetation (e.g. Scirpus, Typha, Carex, Sparganium and Phragmites) (Taylor and van Perlo 1998) in or near fairly deep water in which to breed, preferably with a mixture of dead and living stems and a layer of broken stems at ground or water level (Taylor and van Perlo 1998). Suitable habitats include the margins of lakes and rivers (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Taylor and van Perlo 1998), small pools and oxbows in regularly inundated floodplains (Taylor and van Perlo 1998), marshes (Taylor and van Perlo 1998), flooded woodland (del Hoyo et al. 1996) such as alder Alnus coppices (Taylor and van Perlo 1998) and flooded rice-fields (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Non-breeding During the non-breeding season this species inhabits flooded rice-fields (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Taylor and van Perlo 1998), seasonally flooded grasslands (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996, Taylor and van Perlo 1998), swamps and small pools overgrown with reeds, bulrushes, sedges and rank grass (Urban et al. 1986), and sewage ponds (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species may occur in more atypical habitats on migration (Taylor and van Perlo 1998). Diet The diet of this species consists mostly of insects (especially waterbeetles, Hemiptera, Neuroptera, and adult and larval Diptera), as well as the seeds and shoots of aquatic plants (Carex, Sparganium, Polygonum and Nymphaea), worms, gastropods, spiders and water mites (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding site The nest is a shallow cup of plant matter (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996) placed in thick vegetation on or near water (Urban et al. 1986), or occasionally raised on a tussock or platform of dead material, preferably in sites only accessible by swimming (Taylor and van Perlo 1998). Management information The species prefers to breed in tall reedbeds that are not regularly cut or burnt (i.e. with mixtures of dead or living stems) (Taylor and van Perlo 1998).

In its breeding range the species is threatened by wetland degradation and destruction such as lake drainage for irrigation and hydroelectric power production (Balian et al. 2002), and intensive reed harvesting (Taylor and van Perlo 1998).

Balian, L. V.; Ghasabian, M. G.; Adamian, M. S.; Klem Jr, D. 2002. Changes in the waterbird community of the Lake Sevan-Lake Gilli area, Republic of Armenia: a case for restoration. Biological Conservation 106(2): 157-163.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1996. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 3: Hoatzin to Auks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Delany, S.; Scott, D. 2006. Waterbird population estimates. Wetlands International, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Snow, D. W.; Perrins, C. M. 1998. The Birds of the Western Palearctic vol. 1: Non-Passerines. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Taylor, B. 1998. Rails: a guide to the rails, crakes, gallinules and coots of the world. Pica Press, Robertsbridge, UK.

Urban, E. K.; Fry, C. H.; Keith, S. 1986. The birds of Africa vol. II. Academic Press, London.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species account from Birds in Europe: population estimates trends and conservation status (BirdLife International 2004)

Detailed species account from Birds in Europe: population estimates, trends and conservation status (BirdLife International 2004)

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Malpas, L.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Zapornia parva. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, Coots)
Species name author (Scopoli, 1769)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 1,450,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- 2015 European Red List assessment