Porzana spiloptera 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Gruiformes Rallidae

Scientific Name: Porzana spiloptera Durnford, 1877
Common Name(s):
English Dot-winged Crake
Taxonomic Source(s): SACC. 2005 and updates. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #
Identification information: 15 cm. Tiny, dark crake. Brown upperparts striped blackish. Dark wings with whitish barring on coverts, visible in flight. Plumbeous underparts. Darker belly barred white. Dark greenish bill, grey legs washed green. Similar spp. Ash-throated Crake P. albicollis is considerably larger and without markings in the wing. Black Crake Laterallus jamaicensis is smaller and darker, with rufous on nape and back. Voice Unknown.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable C2a(i) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Azpiroz, A., Chebez, J., Pearman, M. & Scherer, S.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Pilgrim, J., Pople, R., Sharpe, C.J., Symes, A.
The vocalisations of this secretive species are still unknown, and its distribution and abundance hence remain poorly understood. However, its population is believed to be small, fragmented, and undergoing a continuing decline, qualifying it as Vulnerable.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Porzana spiloptera occurs in Argentina (Corrientes-Chaco [Chatellenaz and Zaninovich 2009], San Juan, San Luis [Lucero 2013], Córdoba, Entre Ríos, Buenos Aires and Santa Cruz, with one collected in Santa Fe in 1906, unconfirmed historical records from Mendoza [Chebez et al. 2008], and a presumed vagrant in Chubut), Uruguay (Canelones, Colonia, Maldonado and Montevideo, but none since 1973) and Brazil (recent records from two sites in Rio Grande do Sul) (Cuello and Gerzenstein 1962, Escalante 1983, Arballo and Cravino 1999, A. B. Azpiroz in litt. 1999, J. C. Chebez in litt. 1999, S. B. Scherer per G. A. Bencke in litt. 2000). Records from La Rioja and Río Negro, Argentina, are thought to refer to L. jamaicensis (Martinez et al. 1997, Chebez et al. 2008, Pagano et al. 2011, Lucero 2013). It is relatively widespread (16 localities in Buenos Aires with recent records from eight), but all records refer to 1-2 birds. It was formerly locally frequent to abundant in Buenos Aires, but is now rare to fairly common. This may be partly attributable to a paucity of observers, but there seem to have been declines (or perhaps birds are just highly mobile in search of optimum habitat) at the relatively well-watched sites of Punta Rasa and the río Luján (M. Pearman in litt. 1999).

Countries occurrence:
Argentina; Brazil; Uruguay
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:1380000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):YesExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:6-10Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The population is assumed to fall in the band 2,500-9,999 mature individuals based on the low numbers usually recorded at the relatively small number of known localities with recent records, where it is described as rare to fairly common. This equates to 3,750-14,999 individuals, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals. Verification of this estimate is desirable.

Trend Justification:  It was formerly locally frequent to abundant in Buenos Aires, but is now rare to fairly common. This may be partly attributable to a paucity of observers, but there seem to have been declines (or perhaps birds are just highly mobile in optimum habitat) at the relatively well-watched sites of Punta Rasa and the río Luján (M. Pearman in litt. 1999). Based on this information, a slow decline is suspected.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:2500-9999Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
No. of subpopulations:2-100Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No
No. of individuals in largest subpopulation:1-89

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It occurs in temporary and tidal marshes, swamps, wet marshy meadows, and wet to dry grassland. In Argentina, it associates with cord grass Spartina densiflora (up to 70 cm tall) in areas of permanent, brackish surface water (Martinez et al. 1997). It has been found in seasonally wet grasslands of Spartina and Juncus acutus (Martinez et al. 1997), and has been flushed from Paspalum grass.

Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater; Marine
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):2.7
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There is land reclamation for agriculture, and high levels of grazing and burning. At Punta Rasa, a recreational development project has resulted in an increase in visitors. Mar Chiquita, Buenos Aires, has been flooded. Birds seem to disappear for up to one year after burning (Martinez et al. 1997). In the early 1990s, cattle-grazing displaced birds at río Luján (M. Pearman in litt. 1999). Crake are regularly trapped in Buenos Aires, but there is no evidence that this species is caught (M. Pearman in litt. 1999).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
Most records are from Mar Chiquita Biosphere Reserve (Buenos Aires), Mar Chiquita Ramsar Biosphere Reserve (Córdoba), Punta Rasa Biological Station and the Otamendi Strict Nature Reserve. It occurs in Lagoa do Peixe National Park, Brazil (S. B. Scherer per G. A. Bencke in litt. 2000). It is protected under Uruguayan law.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey suitable habitat within its known range in Santa Fe (J. C. Chebez in litt. 1999) and Rio Grande do Sul. Record its voice to enable further surveys using tape-playback. Study the effects of cattle-grazing. Expand Otamendi Strict Nature Reserve to encompass larger tracts of habitat. Ensure the de facto protection of Mar Chiquita Biosphere Reserve, Buenos Aires.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Porzana spiloptera. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22692687A93364465. . Downloaded on 26 April 2018.
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