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Coots Rails and Moorhens: Rallidae

Buff-spotted Flufftail (sarothrura Elegans): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: The male buff-spotted flufftail has an orange-chestnut head and neck and spotted body. The female is golden brown in color with a spotted back and barred belly. Buff-spotted flufftails range from 6 to 6.7 inches (15 to 17 centimeters) in length and 1.4 to 2 ounces (39 to 61 grams) in weight.

Geographic range: Buff-spotted flufftails are found in Africa from Guinea east to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda and south to northern Angola, as well as from southern Sudan and Ethiopia to South Africa.

During the breeding season, male buff-spotted flufftails sing at night to attract females, sometimes for as long as twelve hours continuously. (Illustration by Wendy Baker. Reproduced by permission.)

Habitat: Buff-spotted flufftails are found in forests, but may also inhabit abandoned agricultural lands.

Diet: Buff-spotted flufftails eat primarily invertebrates, animals without backbones, such as insects and spiders. They forage on the ground.

Behavior and reproduction: Buff-spotted flufftails are highly territorial during the breeding season. Individuals are active during the day, although males sing to attract females at night, sometimes for as long as twelve hours continuously. Some buff-spotted flufftail populations migrate while others do not.

Buff-spotted flufftails are monogamous, and nests are built on the ground. Nests are dome-shaped and built from dead leaves or grass. The female lays three to five eggs at a time. Eggs hatch after fifteen to sixteen days, and the young are independent after nineteen to twenty-one days.

Buff-spotted flufftails and people: The buff-spotted flufftail's loud, hooting calls, which can last all night, are the source of local legends.

Conservation status: Buff-spotted flufftails are not threatened. ∎

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsCoots Rails and Moorhens: Rallidae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Rails And People, Conservation Status - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE