Red-necked crake

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Red-necked crake
Red-necked Crake kuranda.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Gruiformes
Family: Rallidae
Genus: Rallina
Species: R. tricolor
Binomial name
Rallina tricolor
Gray, 1858

Tomirdus tricolor[verification needed] (Gray, 1858)

The red-necked crake (Rallina tricolor) is a waterbird in the rail and crake family, Rallidae.


The red-necked crake is a large crake (length 25 cm, wingspan 40 cm, weight 200 g). Its head, neck and breast are red-brown, with a paler version of that color on the throat. The upperparts are grey-brown, while the underparts are grey-brown with pale barring. The underwing is barred black and white, the bill green, and the legs grey-brown.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Red-necked crakes live in the Moluccas, Lesser Sundas, New Guinea lowlands and adjacent islands, and north-eastern Australia. They are found in tropical rainforests and dense vegetation close to permanent wetlands.



The bird's diet consists of amphibians, aquatic invertebrates, crustaceans and molluscs.


The bird rests on or close to ground in dense vegetation. It lays clutches of 3-5 dull-white eggs, the incubation periods of which are around 20 days. The chicks emerge covered in black down, precocial and nidifugous.


The crake makes repetitive clicking calls and soft grunts.


With a large range and no evidence of significant decline, this species is assessed as being of least concern. The species is little studied and seldom seen due to its secretive nature, but appears to be locally common in New Guinea. In Australia it has suffered declines due to habitat loss.

Cultural References[edit]

In Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam trilogy (consisting of "Oryx and Crake," "The Year of the Flood," and "MaddAddam") the antagonist Crake is named after the red-Necked crake, which has gone extinct in the series' universe. Crake's personality is based on that of the red-necked crake: secretive and safe. Crake's real name, Glenn, is a reference to pianist Glenn Gould, who is renowned for his eccentricities (in both his playing and personal life) and technical proficiency - he is acclaimed as one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century. It is thought that Glenn Gould was somewhere on the autism spectrum, and Atwood has stated that Crake was also along the spectrum.


  • BirdLife International. (2007). Species factsheet: Rallina tricolor. Downloaded from on 14/6/2007
  • Marchant, S.; Higgins, P.J.; & Davies, J.N. (eds). (1994). Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. Volume 2: Raptors to Lapwings. Oxford University Press: Melbourne. ISBN 0-19-553069-1