Remember the scientific name, for that is what this elusive and endangered bird will say to you - and you will be very lucky to see it. If you do it is a generally brown and streaked and moderately large crake.
Once common, it is in steep decline everywhere and has been forced to the outer limits of Britain and Ireland. Here it is receiving help from crofters and conservationists who have agreed on delayed cutting of the hay.
Early cutting so that the birds cannot fledge their young is the main cause for the decline. These birds are long distance migrants with the wintering ones all in Central and East Africa. Breeding birds are recorded well into Asia but all populations studied are declining. British and Irish populations are now less than 1000 calling males BUT there was a slight increase in 1995.
A declining crake seldom seen but with distinctive voice
Length 280 mm Closed wing 140 mm Weight 145 gms
A Bird On! Sketch by Chris Mead
Copyright © 1996 by Jacobi Jayne & Company and Chris Mead