987. Baillon’s Crake.
Porzana bailloni (Vieill.), Nouv. Dict, xxviii. p. 548 (1819) ; (Hewitson), ii. p. 377, pl. cvi. fig. 1 ; (Gould), B. of E. iv. pl. 344 ; Dresser, vii. p. 275, pl. 497 ; Saunders, p. 513 ; Lilford, iv. p. 135, pl. 59 ; P. pygmoea (Brehm), Lehrb, ii. p. 641 (1824) ; (Naum.), ix. p. 567, Taf. 239 ; (Gould), B. of Gt. Brit. iv. pl. 89 ; ? Rallus intermedius, Hermann, Obs. Zool. i. p. 198 (1804) ; (Sharpe), Cat. B. Br. Mus. xxiii. p. 103.
Poule d’eau Bailloni French ; Polluela chica, Picardo, Span. ; Schiribilla-grigiata, Ital. ; Zwerg Sumpfhuhn, German ; Kleinste Waterhoen, Dutch.
Male ad. (S. Spain). Crown, nape, and upper parts reddish brown tinned with olivaceous and marked with black ; the mantle and rump clearly spotted with white ; wings and tail dark brown, the outer web of the first quill white ; aides of head, neck, and under parts deep plate-blue ; the lower abdomen and flanks, under wing and tail-coverts black, barred with white ; bill sea-green at the base, becoming blackish green towards the tip ; legs dull greyish flesh ; iris carmine-red. Culmen 0.75, wing 3.5, tail 2.05, tarsus 1.1 inch. Female similar but duller in colour. The young bird lacks the blue colour, having the sides of the head warm ochreous brown, the chin and upper throat white, the lower throat and breast dull brownish ochreous, the middle of the abdomen white.
Hab. Central and Southern Europe up to about 54° N. ; an irregular visitor to Britain ; the whole of Africa and Mada¬gascar ; Asia Minor and Asia east to Persia.
Inhabits marshy and damp localities where the herbage is dense, as, like its allies, it is extremely secretive in its habits. It swims with ease and grace, and is well able to dive. It walks also with readiness and celerity on the floating herbage, but when flushed its flight is short. Its note is a low piping cry, resembling that of the Little Crake, and its food consists of insects, larvae, and small molluscs. It breeds in May, its nest being carefully hidden in the herbage in some swampy locality, and is cup-shaped, well lined with dry grass and the leaves of aquatic plants. The eggs, usually 7 to 8 in number, are olivaceous ochreous very closely dotted and marbled with olivaceous brown, and measure about 1.7 by 0.81.
987. Porzana bailloni
987. Baillon’s Crake.