“Today got some space to cycle out with my wife. We were later than usual due to wet weather and at 7 am were just a few hundred meters from our home when we spotted this Red-Legged Crake (Rallina fasciata) lying on the edge of a road. Could not just leave it there, so we took it back home for a decent burial.
“Clinical examination showed that the neck had been broken and we think that it had been hit by a passing vehicle in the early morning dusk as it was crossing the road.
“We have seen this bird once before in our urban neighbourhood, many years ago (about 11 yrs). The Red-Legged Crake is resident locally as well as augmented by winter migration. Although this bird is far from its usual habitat of swampy areas, I think it is resident in our neighbourhood. Generally a hard bird to see. The other option is that it is a migratory bird, and as it is noted to migrate by night, could have been passing through and got hit by a vehicle.
“My wife and I gave it a burial in our garden (along with the Blue Winged Pitta from April 2007) and said a simple prayer. I prayed for the mate that will be missing the partner.”
“Some measurements: Tip of beak to end of tail 20.3 cm; one wing span 15.1 cm; wing tip to wing tip 37.5 cm (full span); bill 2.2 cm; tarsus 9.2 cm.
“The other bird that resembles it is the Band-bellied Crake/Chinese Banded Crake (Porzana paykullii) but the Red-Legged Crake has back and white bars not just on the wing coverts (like the Band-bellied Crake) but also on the flight feathers. Also the Red-Legged Crake head is more uniform in colour while Band-bellied Crake has darker crown and hind neck. Red-Legged Crake also has a boarder red eye ring and red base to bill.
Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Canning Garden Home, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
14th November 2009