This highly secretive, small (thrush-sized) rail is more often heard than seen. Adult is golden-yellow and black overall with black-and-yellow striped wings, black belly, yellow head and breast, black eye patch and crown, and clean yellow bill. Juvenile has blackish nape with fine yellow spots and blackish bill. In flight, note white trailing edge along secondaries.
Length: 18 (cm) Wingspan: 28 (cm)
Its clicking territorial "song" is a two phrase "tik-tik, tik-tik-tik" that can be mistaken for insect noise and is easily drowned out by the louder nocturnal sounds of other marsh birds and frogs. This song can be imitated by tapping two small stones together. Typically heard only at night.
Marshes, wetlands, reedbeds, seasonally wet grasslands, coastal marshland.
Difficult to observe due to skulking mouse-like nature; more likely to seek cover in grassy tunnels rather than fly to escape danger. Often active at night; territorial calls are typically nocturnal. Nest is woven of grass, partly roofed, placed on ground at base of vertical stems.
Forages on wet ground or in shallow water; eats a variety of insects and other small aquatic organisms, and occasional plant material.
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