The vocalisations of this secretive species are still unknown, and its distribution and abundance hence remain poorly understood. However, its population is believed to be small, fragmented, and undergoing a continuing decline, qualifying it as Vulnerable.
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.
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #http://www.museum.lsu.edu/~Remsen/SACCBaseline.html#.
15 cm. Tiny, dark crake. Brown upperparts striped blackish. Dark wings with whitish barring on coverts, visible in flight. Plumbeous underparts. Darker belly barred white. Dark greenish bill, grey legs washed green. Similar spp. Ash-throated Crake P. albicollis is considerably larger and without markings in the wing. Black Crake Laterallus jamaicensis is smaller and darker, with rufous on nape and back. Voice Unknown.
Distribution and population
Porzana spiloptera occurs in Argentina (Corrientes-Chaco [Chatellenaz and Zaninovich 2009], Córdoba, Buenos Aires and Entre Ríos, with one collected in Santa Fe in 1906, and unconfirmed historical records from Mendoza and San Luis [(Chebez et al. 2008]), Uruguay (Canelones, Colonia, Maldonado and Montevideo, but none since 1973) and Brazil (recent records from two sites in Rio Grande do Sul) (Cuello and Gerzenstein 1962, Escalante 1983, Arballo and Cravino 1999, A. B. Azpiroz in litt. 1999, J. C. Chebez in litt. 1999, S. B. Scherer per G. A. Bencke in litt. 2000). Records from La Rioja, San Luis, San Juan and La Rioja, Argentina, are thought to refer to L. jamaicensis (Martinez et al. 1997, Chebez et al. 2008, Pagano et al. 2011). It is relatively widespread (16 localities in Buenos Aires with recent records from eight), but all records refer to 1-2 birds. It was formerly locally frequent to abundant in Buenos Aires, but is now rare to fairly common. This may be partly attributable to a paucity of observers, but there seem to have been declines (or perhaps birds are just highly mobile in search of optimum habitat) at the relatively well-watched sites of Punta Rasa and the río Luján (M. Pearman in litt. 1999).
The population is assumed to fall in the band 2,500-9,999 mature individuals based on the low numbers usually recorded at the relatively small number of known localities with recent records, where it is described as rare to fairly common. This equates to 3,750-14,999 individuals, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals. Verification of this estimate is desirable.
It was formerly locally frequent to abundant in Buenos Aires, but is now rare to fairly common. This may be partly attributable to a paucity of observers, but there seem to have been declines (or perhaps birds are just highly mobile in optimum habitat) at the relatively well-watched sites of Punta Rasa and the río Luján (M. Pearman in litt. 1999). Based on this information, a slow decline is suspected.
It occurs in temporary and tidal marshes, swamps, wet marshy meadows, and wet to dry grassland. In Argentina, it associates with cord grass Spartina densiflora (up to 70 cm tall) in areas of permanent, brackish surface water (Martinez et al. 1997). It has been found in seasonally wet grasslands of Spartina and Juncus acutus (Martinez et al. 1997), and has been flushed from Paspalum grass.
There is land reclamation for agriculture, and high levels of grazing and burning. At Punta Rasa, a recreational development project has resulted in an increase in visitors. Mar Chiquita, Buenos Aires, has been flooded. Birds seem to disappear for up to one year after burning (Martinez et al. 1997). In the early 1990s, cattle-grazing displaced birds at río Luján (M. Pearman in litt. 1999). Crake are regularly trapped in Buenos Aires, but there is no evidence that this species is caught (M. Pearman in litt. 1999).
Conservation Actions Underway
Most records are from Mar Chiquita Biosphere Reserve (Buenos Aires), Mar Chiquita Ramsar Biosphere Reserve (Córdoba), Punta Rasa Biological Station and the Otamendi Strict Nature Reserve. It occurs in Lagoa do Peixe National Park, Brazil (S. B. Scherer per G. A. Bencke in litt. 2000). It is protected under Uruguayan law. Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey suitable habitat within its known range in Santa Fe (J. C. Chebez in litt. 1999) and Rio Grande do Sul. Record its voice to enable further surveys using tape-playback. Study the effects of cattle-grazing. Expand Otamendi Strict Nature Reserve to encompass larger tracts of habitat. Ensure the de facto protection of Mar Chiquita Biosphere Reserve, Buenos Aires.
Arballo, E.; Cravino, J. L. 1999. Aves del Uruguay: manual ornitolÃ³gico - tomo 1. Editorial Agropecuaria Hemisferio Sur S.R.L., Montevideo.
Collar, N. J.; Gonzaga, L. P.; Krabbe, N.; MadroÃ±o Nieto, A.; Naranjo, L. G.; Parker, T. A.; Wege, D. C. 1992. Threatened birds of the Americas: the ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, U.K.
Cuello, J.; Gerzenstein, E. 1962. Las aves del Uruguay: lista sistemÃ¡tica, distribuciÃ³n y notas. Comunicaciones Zoologicas del Museo de Historia Natural de Montevideo VI(93): 1-191.
Escalante, R. 1983. CatÃ¡logo de las aves Uruguayas. 3a parte, Galliformes y Gruiformes.
Martinez, M. M.; Bo, M. S.; Isacch, J. P. 1997. Habitat and abundance of Speckled Crake (Coturnicops notata) and Dot-winged Crake (Porzana spiloptera) in Mar Chiquita, Buenos Aires province, Argentina. Hornero 14: 274-277.
Further web sources of information
Detailed species account from the Threatened birds of the Americas: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 1992). Please note taxonomic treatment and IUCN Red List category may have changed since publication.
Detailed species account from the Threatened birds of the Americas: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 1992). Please note, taxonomic treatment and IUCN Red List category may have changed since publication.
Recuento detallado de la especie tomado del libro Aves Amenazadas de las Americas, Libro Rojo de BirdLife International (BirdLife International 1992). Nota: la taxonomoía y la categoría de la Lista Roja de la UICN pudo haber cambiado desde esta publicación.
Text account compilers
Pilgrim, J., Pople, R., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A.
Azpiroz, A., Chebez, J., Pearman, M., Scherer, S.
IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Porzana spiloptera. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/08/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/08/2016.
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
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|Current IUCN Red List category||Vulnerable|
|Family||Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, Coots)|
|Species name author||Durnford, 1877|
|Population size||2500-9999 mature individuals|
|Distribution size (breeding/resident)||48,500 km2|
|Links to further information|
|- Additional Information on this species|