The spotted crake’s breeding habitat is marshes and sedge beds across Europe into western Asia. It is a migratory species, wintering in Africa and Pakistan.
You could probably say that I have a healthy “man-crush” on crakes. They must be one of the coolest bird groups on the planet. They are small. They are secretive. They are normally very difficult to find. If you find them, they are usually even more difficult to photograph. And if you photograph them, you usually get a bum, record shot at best. Challenge accepted! I started looking for crakes 5 years ago, and until January this year had only seen 5 of the 7 Southern African crake species; the confiding, black crake; the more difficult to find African crake, the increasingly difficult to find baillon’s crake, the ridiculously hard to find corn crake and the once-in-a-lifetime (and very lost), little crake. I thought it would be a long time until I saw and photographed my next crake, as I was pretty sure I was going to have to travel to Zimbabwe or elsewhere to find the final two skulkers; spotted and striped. As this photograph reveals, I could not have been more wrong, as this has been an unprecedented year in South Africa for sightings of spotted crakes. After two visits to see this the most famous (and definitely most photographed) spotted crake at a small pond in Midrand, I just had to go back again to see it a final time. And this last time exceeded all my expectations.