‘Lanyu’ Scops-Owl Rusty Laughingthrush
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Rallina eurizonoides formosana
The Slaty-legged Crake is a medium-sized (25 cm) rail with a dark brown back, wings and tail, a chestnut head, neck and breast, a white chin, and thin white bars on its black belly and undertail. The bill and legs are gray to greenish gray and the iris is reddish brown. The Taiwan race formosana has a purer white throat than mainland subspecies.
The Slaty-legged Crake is a shy bird of forests and forest edges, the banks of forest streams, dense scrub and paddy fields. It feeds on worms, molluscs and insects as well as shoots and seeds of marsh plants. Its call is a repeated “kek-kek” or nasal “ow-ow”, often given persistently at night.
The nest of the Slaty-legged Crake is a pad of dead leaves, grass and twigs with a central depression. It is usually placed on the ground in a clump of bamboo or tangled vegetation, or on top of a tree stump up to 1 m. above the ground, not necessarily near water. The female usually lays 4 to 8 eggs which are incubated by both sexes, and both parents also tend the young.
The Slaty-legged Crake is resident year-round in Taiwan and on Lanyu Island, mainly at low elevations near water.
References: Handbook of Birds of the World Vol. 3; A Field Guide to the Birds of China (Mackinnon and Phillipps); N. J. Collar, “Endemic subspecies of Taiwan birds—first impressions”, in Birding ASIA, Number 2, December 2004