Yellow-breasted Crake (Laterallus flaviventer)

Yellow-breasted Crake


The yellow-breasted crake (Laterallus flaviventer) is a species of bird in the family Rallidae. It was formerly sometimes placed in the obsolete genus Poliolimnas or united with the Ocellated crake in Micropygia, and is now occasionally separated in a monotypic genus Hapalocrex. Phylogenetic analyses of mitochondrial DNA revealed that it is not a part of Porzana proper, and instead belongs within the Coturnicops–Laterallus clade. While its precise relationships are still insufficiently resolved, it is not closely related to Micropygia, and Stervander et al. (2019) suggested that it should be referred to as Laterallus flaviventer pending further data.

Distribution And Habitat

The Yellow-breasted Crake is a species that occurs from Mexico through South America including the Greater Antilles in the Caribbean, where it is an uncommon resident on Cuba, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico, and rare on Hispaniola (Raffaele and others 1998). In Puerto Rico, it has been reported mostly from the Humacao (Vilella and others 2011), Boquerón, Caño Tiburones, and Laguna Cartagena wildlife refuges (Oberle 2018). Habitat includes mostly freshwater wetlands and canals with edges of short grass or other aquatic plants (Raffaele and others 1998), as well as marshes, pond edges, fl ooded fields, and ditches with dense vegetation (Oberle 2018). The atlas fieldwork yielded a total of 11 records within eight hexagons or 1.6 percent of the 479 total hexagons (see map). Of the eight hexagons where this species was found, breeding met the atlas definition of confirmed in 25 percent (two) of the hexagons and possible in 75 percent (six) of the hexagons (see map). Low numbers of reports are not surprising as many rails and crakes are skulkers have crepuscular habits.Yellow-breasted Crake distribution. The map shows the highest breeding code by hexagon and overlaying the ecological life zones in Puerto Rico. Note: percentages may not total 100 due to rounding. 93Yellow-breasted Crake/Gallito Amarillo

Yellow-breasted Crake Distribution

Breeding Habits

Previously published reports indicate that the Yellow-breasted Crake breeds primarily from March to June (Raffaele and others 1998, Vilella and others 2011). The nest is woven on fl oating vegetation or reeds (Oberle 2018, Raffaele and others 1998, Vilella and others 2011). Of the 15 nests found in the Humacao refuge, two were located in May and November of 2001, and the remaining 13 nests were located from January to July 2001 (Vilella and others 2011). Atlas results suggest that this species breeds mostly from March to May, although there might be scattered breeding activity during other months such as January, September, and December (see chart). The breeding activity peaks in March, and it mostly takes place within the subtropical moist forest life zone (75 percent of the hexagons) (see chart and table). However, results indicate that it may also breed in the subtropical dry forest life zone (25 percent of the hexagons) (see table and map).


The global population trend of the Yellow-breasted Crake is increasing (Wetlands International 2012), although some populations are stable (Butcher and Niven 2007). This species is currently listed as a species of least concern by the IUCN (BirdLife International 2016). Locally, this species is not listed in any of the threatened categories of PRDNER and USFWS. In Puerto Rico, the Yellow-breasted Crake has a protected habitat in land of 17 percent or 33 km2 of the total area covered by the hexagons where evidence of breeding was found for this species (191 km2).