Mobile bird identification
Bird Field Guide


Crex crex
Rails, Crakes & Coots Menu
Order: Gruiformes

Family: Rallidae

Genus:  Crex

Species: C. crex
The Corncrake has almost perfect camouflage plumage, and can be almost impossible to see, rarely venturing out of dense vegetation. Note the grey areas on this birds head and the black streaking on the brown back. Also note the white feather tips on the birds flanks, these can be very pronounced in male birds during the breeding season.

The male Corncrake has a tawny brown back, soft grey face and a short pink bill. It's throat and breast is pale grey. The female has less grey than the male.

Adult Male & Female
Corncrake distribution
Winter visitor
Resident bird
Passage Migrant
Summer visitor
General distribution:
A widespread but sparse summer visitor to Southern Europe. A rare and localised breeding bird in the UK, almost completely confined to Western Scotland. Considered a red list species due to massive decline in recent years.
Grassland, meadows, nettle beds and areas of flag iris.
The Corncrake is now a very rare bird in the UK. It's decline is thought to be due to mechanised methods of grass cultivation and the use of pesticides. Large areas of farmland are now managed by the RSPB in Western Scotland in a way which allows the bird to complete it's breeding cycle before hay is harvested. In these managed, localised areas the Corncrake is relatively common, although it is extremely hard to see and is most often heard calling during the spring and summer months.
Thanks to:
Rare footage of a Corncrake calling.
Thanks to:
Identifying a Corncrake
* key ID points
Soft grey face, neck and breast. Female has less grey.

Tawny brown back with black streaking

*Short stout, pink bill

Corncrake male and female

White bars on flanks