Birds – Pygmy Rails

Not far separated from the last are the pretty little Pygmy Rails (Corethrura) of Africa and Madagascar, of which nine species are recognized. They are only six or seven inches long and are chiefly remarkable, so far as plumage goes, for the laxness of the feathers and the soft tail, which is almost concealed by its coverts. The Rufous-chested Crake (C. rufa) of South Africa has the head, neck, breast, and shoulders chestnut, while the body is black, more or less streaked with white. This species, Andersson says, “frequents stagnant waters, thickly fringed and studded with aquatic herbage, amongst the ever progressive decay of which it loves to disport itself and to search for food. It is very shy and retiring in its habits, seldom going far from effective cover, and gliding through the mazes of rank vegetation with astonishing ease and swiftness.”