Family Rails, Gallinules, Coots (Rallidae)

Least Concern

African Crake (Crex egregia)


French: Râle des prés German: Savannenralle Spanish: Guión africano

Ortygometra (Crex) egregia

W. K. H. Peters

, 1854,

Tete, Zambezi, north-west Mozambique


Sometimes placed in genus Porzana on basis of a superficial resemblance to P. albicollis, but plumage and skeletal differences make such a relationship untenable. Sometimes placed in monospecific genus Crecopsis, but probably more appropriately included in Crex on basis of similarities to C. crex. Monotypic.


Sub-Saharan Africa from Senegal E to Kenya and S to N & E South Africa (except in arid areas of SW & S Africa, where W limits correlate with 300-mm summer-rainfall isohyet).

Descriptive notes

20–23 cm; 3 males 121–141 (133)g, 16 unsexed 92–137 (117·5)g; wingspan 40–42 cm. Sexes similar but female normally looks slightly smaller, with... read more


Advertising call of male a series of rapid, grating “krrr” notes. Both sexes give sharp, loud “kip... read more


Predominantly occurs in grasslands, from those (often seasonally moist or inundated) at edges of... read more

Food and feeding

Feeds on earthworms, molluscs, insects and their larvae (especially termites, ants, beetles and grasshoppers), and small frogs; also... read more


Breeds during rains; Senegal Jul; Sierra Leone, Jun–Aug; Ivory Coast, chicks Apr, May, Oct; Ghana, Apr; Nigeria, Jul–Sept in N... read more


Seasonality of occurrence too complex and poorly documented to be mapped accurately (map largely... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Widespread and locally common throughout most of range except in rain forest and arid regions; distribution and status relatively... read more

Recommended citation

Taylor, B. (2020). African Crake (Crex egregia). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 3 April 2020).