Corncrake

Corncrake

Scientific name: Crex crex

Did you know: Corncrakes are secretive birds, often heard but seldom seen. Their distinctive call, resembling the sound of two sticks rubbing together, echoes across their habitats, making their presence known even when they’re out of sight.

What Do Corncrakes Look Like? (how to identify them)

Corncrakes are medium-sized, elusive birds with a round body and a long neck. 

Their upper parts are mottled brown with a greyish-blue head and neck, and they boast unique chestnut wings. Their cryptic plumage helps them blend seamlessly into their surroundings.

Differences Between Male And Female Corncrakes

Male and female Corncrakes are similar in appearance, making it challenging to distinguish between the two based on plumage alone. Both genders share the same streaky brown and greyish-blue colouration.

What Do Corncrakes Eat?

These birds are omnivorous, feeding mainly on a variety of invertebrates such as insects, spiders, and worms, along with seeds. Their diet adapts to the available food sources in their breeding and wintering grounds.

Where Do Corncrakes Live? (inc. migration info)

Corncrakes are summer visitors to the UK, predominantly found in the western and northern islands of Scotland. 

They prefer meadows and hay fields for nesting, migrating to Africa for the winter. These birds thrive in tall plant cover, making them challenging to spot.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Corncrakes)

Corncrakes are renowned for their loud, repetitive calls that sound throughout dusk till dawn. This distinctive crex-crex sound, resembling jangling keys or two sticks being rubbed together, is a defining characteristic of these birds.

Fun Corncrake Facts (kid friendly)

  • Corncrakes can’t fly until they are about 35 days old.
  • They are known for their loud, distinctive call.
  • Female Corncrakes often start a new nest while still caring for their first brood.
  • These birds migrate long distances between the UK and Africa.
  • Despite their strong flight, Corncrakes are quite elusive and prefer to hide in tall grasses.

Facts About The Corncrake

Diet: Insects and seeds.
Bird Family: Rails, crakes and coots
Length: 27-30cm
Wingspan: 46-53cm
Weight: 120-200g
Scientific Name: Crex crex

The Corncrake Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September

Corncrake Images

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Male
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Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile