Spotless Crakes aka Black Rail

The Spotless Crakes (Porzana tabuensis) – also known as Sooty Crakes, Black Rails, or Puwetos (Maori language) – are secretive and shy rails found in American Samoa, Australia, the Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Indonesia, Micronesia, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Pitcairn, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tonga.

Subspecies and Ranges

  • Porzana tabuensis tabuensis (Gmelin, 1789) – Nominate Race
  • Porzana tabuensis edwardi Gyldenstolpe, 1955
    • Range: Western and central New Guinea in the southwest Pacific Ocean.
  • Porzana tabuensis richardsoni Rand, 1940
    • Range: In the mountains of western New Guinea, in central West Papua (previously Irian Jaya)


Spotless Crakes have mostly plain plumage, with a dark olive brown sheen to the back; and a black head, chest, and wings. The eyes a red and the feet pink. Slight geographical variations have been noted.

Alternative (Global) Names

Czech: Chrástal temný, ch?ástal temný … Danish: Sodbrun Rørvagtel … Dutch: Pacifisch Porseleinhoen … Estonian: putoto-huik … Finnish: Putotohuitti … French: Marouette fuligineuse, Rle d’Australasie … German: Südseesumpfhuhn, Südsee-Sumpfhuhn … Indonesian: Tikusan Polos … Italian: Schiribilla fuligginosa, Schiribilla uniforme … Japanese: minamihikuina, minamikurokuina … Norwegian: Sotrikse … Polish: kureczka posepna, kureczka pos?pna … Russian: ????????? ???????, ???????-?????? … Slovak: chriašt zátonový, chriaš? záto?ový … Spanish: Polluela de Tongatapu, Polluela de Tongatupu, Polluela Oscura … Swedish: Sotsumphöna

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Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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