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Corn Crake

From Opus

Photo by nigelblakeBalranald Nature Reserve, North Uist, Outer Hebrides, May 2006
Photo by nigelblake
Balranald Nature Reserve, North Uist, Outer Hebrides, May 2006
Crex crex


[edit] Identification

The body is mostly buffy gray with rusty-brown wings visible in flight. The back has black centers of the feathers leading to a spotted or striped impression, and some rusty barring can be seen on the flanks.
Legs and bill are dull yellow.

[edit] Distribution

Breeds Palearctic; winters Mediterranean to Africa and Madagascar. Accidental in eastern Canada with recent records in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.

Many 19th century records in the eastern United States.

[edit] Taxonomy

This is a monotypic species[1].

[edit] Habitat

Meadows, grass fields, drier parts of marshes (drier areas than what most of the Porzana species prefer).

The young, before they can fly, will try to stay in cover and never runs over newly harvested areas. Modern harvest methods which often take place during that period, can therefore decimate the population if fields are harvested from the edge to the center; reversing that harvest habit with starting from the center has led to some improvements in the survival of these birds.

[edit] Status

This species has diminished in numbers in the more developed countries. The spread of modern harvest methods to the former Eastern bloc has potential to increase the threat to the species.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Breeding

The clutch of 8-12 greyish-green, blotchy eggs is laid in a shallow, vegetation-lined cup nest. The young hatch after about 16-19 days and leave the nest a couple of days later. They are cared for by the female. They fledge 5-6 weeks later. There is usually a second brood.

[edit] Diet

They eat insects and seeds.

[edit] Flight

Dangles legs in weak flight.

[edit] Vocalisation

The scientific name mimics its voice.

Listen in an external program

[edit] References

  1. Clements, JF. 2010. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2010. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019. Spreadsheet available at
  2. RSPB

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