Sunday, March 31, 2013

Corn Crake

Crex crex
The Corn Crake is a member of the Rail family-- a group of birds that can be found on every continent but Antarctica, and who are often found in wetland areas. Corn Crakes themselves are migratory, breeding in Europe and Asia and wintering in southern Africa. They inhabit lowland meadows, grasslands, and wetland areas.

It can be difficult to spot these birds because their tawny coloration blends in so well with the grasses that they live among. They spend most of their time on the ground, feeding mainly on invertebrates that live there.

They also do their nesting on the ground as well. When it comes to breeding, it is the female who incubates and cares for the chicks-- the males leave after mating to find another female. In order to attract females, the males make very grating calls that can be heard from over a mile away!

Until very recently (2010), the Corn Crakes were listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN. It looked like their European populations were declining, despite the massive range. In fact, at one point there were less than 600 adults males in the United Kingdom, where they were once populous. The bird were bumped to Least Concern because numbers are on the rise, and because the global population is still very large (estimated to be more than 8 million breeding birds in Europe and Asia).

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Africa, Europe, Asia
Size : Body length 12in (60cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Gruiformes
Family : Rallidae -- Genus : Crex -- Species : C. crex
Image : Richard Wesley

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