This little crake, about the size of a quail, resembles the Malayan banded crake in having red legs and to some extent in colour, being chestnut on the face, neck and under-parts, but it has no black-and-white barring, and the back of the head and upper-parts generally are olive-brown : in young birds this brown tint replaces the chestnut on the fore-parts.
Except in the extreme North-west, it is found over India, Burma, and, in winter, Ceylon. It extends through Assam to Pegu and Arrakan. In some parts of India it is, however, little known, being only recorded from Mysore and the Wynaad in the Peninsula.
It is sociable and fond of weed-covered ponds, on the vegetation of which it runs about, coming freely out of the cover on the banks in the early morning, and feeding on the insects to be found on the leaves. It rises readily enough when disturbed, though some specimens prefer to dive and others to ran to cover. In more open water it swims about like a moorhen. Besides insects, it eats seeds and greenstuff, and takes grit freely, like rails in general. By day it hides among the fringing herbage of ponds or cultivated land of a wet character.
It breeds among waterside herbage like Baillon's crake, but makes a rather bigger nest; the eggs, to be found from July to September, are about half a dozen in number, with reddish and dull mauve spots on a background of tinted white. Outside India it is found in China and Japan, and in the other direction as far as Java.