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a genus of birds of the family Rallidae (rails). The body measures from 16.5 to 28 cm long and is laterally compressed. The bill is small, the wings short, and the digits long. There are 12 species, distributed throughout the world except for polar regions. The USSR has five species: the spotted crake (P. porzana), P. paykullii, the little crake (P. parva), the Porzana nigra, and Baillon’s crake (P. pusilla). The birds inhabit overgrown shores, damp meadows, and marshes. They are able to run rapidly through the thick grass, and they swim and dive well. The birds fly poorly. The nests are constructed on the ground, and a clutch contains seven to nine eggs. The birds feed on both animal and vegetable substances. Crakes are migratory. In the USSR the spotted crake is a common game bird.