The Black crake is a species from sub-Saharan Africa, absent from the desert areas of South West and North East Africa. This bird frequents different types of freshwater habitats, preferring the dense undergrowth of wet clearings in wooded regions, and the grassy marshes of open areas. Habitats for this species include still and flowing inland freshwaters like ponds, lakes, reservoirs, and seasonal pans, as well as temporarily flooded areas beside rivers; preferably fringed with rank grass, sedges, papyrus, reed beds, swampy thickets, bushes, or some other vegetation. These birds need tangled vegetation for taking cover, roosting and nesting. They may undertake seasonal movements in parts of their range where drought occurs.
Black crakes are omnivores, they eat aquatic vertebrates and invertebrates like worms, crustaceans, molluscs, insect adults and larvae, tadpoles, small frogs and small fish. They may eat the eggs and nestlings of herons and weavers. They eat seeds and parts of aquatic plants, and also scavenge on carcasses of small birds, crabs and crayfish.