Corncrake Crex crex   [Linnaeus, 1758]

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Order: Gruiformes Family: Rallidae
BTO Codes: CE, CORNC EURING No: 4210
Number in Britain: 1200 Males (Summer)
Conservation Status:
European: 1 Global Conservation Concern; Depleted
Global: (Details)
Status in UK: (A)  Migrant Breeder, Passage Visitor
Subspecies: Monotypic
Length: 28 cm Wingspan: 50 cm Weight: M: 170 g   F: 140 g    
Scientific name from: Gr.: krex=a long-legged bird mentioned by Herodotus, Aristotle and other
World Distribution: BREEDS: Europe, n&c Asia, WINTERS: s Europe to s Africa
Habitat: Grassland, riparian thickets
Diet: Mostly small invertebrates, also some seeds, from ground or off plants
TitBit: This brown, chicken-sized bird, prefers to run when threatened with danger - so it is best to harvest hay fields (where it nests) from the inside out, giving it somewhere to escape to.  
Identification Tips:
  Images from IBC or search flickr
  Videos from IBC
  Sound from xeno-canto
Crossley ID photos

Population and Distribution

Population Trend: No population trend available
Distribution: Atlas Mapstore   
British Population Size:
    Summer: 1200 Males in
    First Record: Recorded in Medieval times [Fossil evidence from early Holocene, up to 10,000 yr ago]
    Latest Survey: Musgrove, A. et al. (2013) British Birds 106:64-100
    Conservation Status: RED because Historical Population Decline, Recent Breeding Population Decline (1969-2007), Recent Breeding Range Decline (1969-2007)
   Previous Assessments: 2002-2007 RED     1996-2001 RED  
   Races of Concern:
UK Biodiversity Action Plan (Lead Partner: RSPB)
Habitat Occupancy (in the Breeding Season):
    No habitat data from BBS
European Population Size:
    Summer: 300 to 500 thousand pairs
Population Assesment from Birds in Europe
Distribution in Europe mapped by the EBCC Atlas
Read the European Species Action Plan
Listed on the Appendices/Schedules of: WCA(I), WBD(I), Bern(III), Bonn(II), NERC (41)
Survey Results: Results from BirdTrack

Breeding and Survival

Egg Size: 37 x 26 mm Egg Weight: 13.2 g (of which 7 % is shell)
Number of Nest Records: 0
Clutch Size: 8 - 12 eggs 9.70 ± . (6 - 14) N = .
Incubation: 16- 19 days 18.60 ± . (. - .) N = .   by the: Female
Fledging: 34 - 38days 11.60 ± . (. - .) N = . as: Precocial, downy
Schaffer, N. & Koffibjerg, K. (2004) BWP Update 6:55-76
First Clutches Laid: Unavailable
Number of Broods: 1/2
Number Ringed: Annual Totals
Adult Survival: 0.286    (M:0.298 ; F:0.259 )      
Juvenile Survival: No data
Age at First Breeding: Typical Lifespan: No data
Maximum Recorded Age: 1 years 11 months 20 days (set in 1998)
Read a summary of Ringing Recoveries


Ring Size: D or E*
Wing Length Adult: Insufficient Data
Juvenile: Insufficient Data
Male: Insufficient Data
Female: Insufficient Data
Weight Adult: Insufficient Data
Juvenile: Insufficient Data
Male: Insufficient Data
Female: Insufficient Data

Other Names

Gaelic: Traon Welsh: Rhegen yr Yd
Danish: Engsnarre Dutch: Kwartelkoning
Finnish: Ruisrääkkä French: Râle des genêts
German: Wachtelkönig Hungarian: Haris
Icelandic: Engirella Irish: Traonach
Italian: Re di quaglie Norwegian: Åkerrikse
Polish: Derkacz zwyczajny Portuguese: Codornizão
Spanish: Guión Swedish: Kornknarr
Local Names: Hay Crake, Land Rail

For More Information...

Books and Monographs:
   Green, R. 1999 Corncrakes : naturally Scottish SNH - Scottish Natural Heritage, Battleby [598.554 GRE]
   Taylor, B. & van Perlo, B. 1998 Rails Pica Press, Sussex [598.554 TAY]
See Also:
Find scientific papers on Google Scholar or Scirus by clicking the icon
Wikipedia entry
HBW account (subscription required)
BirdLife species page
Recent sightings and information from BirdGuides