Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


Scientific Classification
Phylum: Chordata
Genus: Crex
Binomial name
Crex crex

The Corncrake, '\'Crex crex'', is a small bird in the family Rallidae.

Their breeding habitat is not marshes like most crakes, but, as the name implies, meadows and arable farmland. They breed across Europe and western Asia, migrating to Africa in winter. They are in steep decline across most of their range because modern farming practices mean that nests and birds are destroyed by mowing or harvesting before breeding is finished.

Adults have mainly brown heavily spotted upperparts, blue-grey head and neck, and reddish streaked flanks. They have a short bill. In flight they show chestnut wings and long dangling legs. s.

Immature birds are similar, but the blue-grey is replaced by buff. The downy chicks are black, as with all rails.

Corncrakes are very secretive in the breeding season, and are then mostly heard far more often than they are seen. They are hard to flush, walking away through the vegetation. The song, mainly at night, is a repetitive '"crex crex", like two notched sticks being rubbed together. These birds mainly eat insects.