An omnivorous species (7), the diet of the spotted crake consists of aquatic invertebrates, small fish (2), algae and various grasses. When foraging, it probes shallow water with its bill, often immersing its head (5).
The spotted crake forages during the day and roosts at night among thick vegetation (2), although it will reverse this pattern during migration when, despite being territorial throughout the year, small groups come together to forage in the dark (5) (7).
This species is migratory, dispersing to its wintering grounds around mid-July and reoccupying breeding habitat across Europe from April. During August, immature spotted crake often stop on migration to moult, rendering them flightless for about three weeks (2).
Breeding pairs of spotted crake are monogamous, but only for the duration of the breeding season. The nest is built near water among thick vegetation or in a tussock. Eggs are laid by the female spotted crake in clutches of 8 to 12, and hatch after around 18 days. The black, downy chicks become self-feeding after a few days, and are only cared for by the adults until all eggs in a brood have hatched. Fledging occurs after about 50 days (2) (8).