Baillon's Crake


While Baillon's Crake is a bird that is distributed all throughout the world from Australia, through Eurasia to Africa, it is one that is rarely seen by even the most astute birders. Its secretive and retiring nature mean it is highly sought after by birders. Junior Gabela can help you add this bird to your list!


Baillon's Crake is a successful bird that can be found throughout much of the "Old World", but in South Africa it is found along the Cape Coast all the way through to Mozambique and in the Northern Provinces, Limpopo and Mpumalanga, wherever permanent Wetlands can be found. Its distribution is regarded as "Wide but Sparse".

Where To Find

Baillon's Crake lives in the shallow margins of permanent wetlands, marches and swamps, but is not easy to see. It lives amongst thick vegetation but sometimes will stray out into the open. It forages amongst the mud and will readily disappear if disturbed. It is active in the early morning and your best bet is to wait around in a hide or somewhere similar for it and the other rare waders to show their shy faces.

How To Id

Baillon's Crake is a really tiny and shy waterbird (30g) that will only sometimes come out of the riverside vegetation if they believe it to be safe - in which case their blue front, brown back and head, and Green beak make it unmistakeable. Sometimes they are only seen running across floating water lillies with a strange posture. They can be heard calling in the morning and the evening which can help immensely when locating them.

Conservation Status

Baillon's Crake is not recognised as Endangered due to its almost worldwide range, but its reliance on wetlands makes it Vulnerable to the loss of these ecosystems worldwide. Very little is known about their official numbers in South Africa due to their reclusive nature and sparse but wide distribution.

Book Now

Baillon’s Crake is extremely hard to see. While you could be lucky and see one any time, your best chance is to get a knowledgeable guide who knows exactly the spots they hang around. Junior Gabela has in-depth knowledge of these birds’ habits, behaviours and preferred nesting sites, so he can help you and give you the best chance - just be sure to add this bird to your wishlist when making a booking.