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Species Guide

White-throated Crake

Laterallus albigularis

The White-throated Crake, Laterallus albigularis, is a diminutive bird, measuring a mere 14 to 16 cm in length. Males are slightly heavier than females, tipping the scales at around 50 grams compared to the females' 45 grams. Both sexes share a similar plumage, characterized by a striking white throat and upper breast, with a rufous face, sides of the neck, and lower breast. The crown, nape, and upperparts are an olive brown, while the belly and undertail coverts display a distinctive black and white barring.

Identification Tips

To identify the White-throated Crake, look for its white throat and upper breast, which contrast with the rufous face and neck. The olive-brown upperparts and barred underparts are also key features. Subspecies variations include L. a. cinereiceps with a gray face and L. a. cerdaleus with an entirely rufous head and throat.


This species thrives in a variety of habitats, from marshes and wet grasslands to thickets and forest clearings. It is also found along the edges of watercourses and ponds, adapting to both wet and dry landscapes.


The White-throated Crake is native to parts of Central and South America. The nominate subspecies is found from southwestern Costa Rica and Panama to western Colombia and Ecuador. L. a. cerdaleus inhabits northern Colombia and northwestern Venezuela, while L. a. cinereiceps ranges from southeastern Honduras through Nicaragua and Costa Rica into Panama.


A generally sedentary bird, the White-throated Crake may move to higher ground during the rainy season. It is elusive, often foraging in cover but venturing into the open at dawn, dusk, and during rainy weather.

Song & Calls

The vocal repertoire of the White-throated Crake includes an abrupt, explosive descending trill or churr, and a sharp 'chip' alarm call.


Breeding seasons vary by geographic location. The crake constructs a spherical nest with a side entrance, woven from grass stems and leaves, placed in a bush or grass tussock over water or ground. Clutch sizes typically range from two to five eggs.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the White-throated Crake is diverse, including insects, spiders, seeds of grasses and sedges, algae, and small fruits. It forages primarily in cover but may be seen in open areas under certain conditions.

Conservation status

The IUCN has classified the White-throated Crake as Least Concern. It has a broad range, but the population size and trend are not well documented. There are currently no immediate threats identified for this species. However, its elusive nature makes it a challenging bird to observe and assess.

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White-throated Crakes on Birda


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