corncrake

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corncrake

a common Eurasian rail, Crex crex, of fields and meadows, with a buff speckled plumage and reddish wings

Corncrake

 

(Crex crex) a bird of the family Rallidae of the order Gruiformes. The body measures about 27 cm in length, and the weight is approximately 150 g. The body is laterally compressed. The back and head are reddish brown and the underparts grayish.

The corncrake is found in Europe and Southwest Asia. In the USSR it is distributed from the country’s western border to Lake Baikal and from 61°–63° N lat. to Transcaucasia and the semidesert zone. It winters in central and southern Africa. The bird lives in damp meadows and forest glades and penetrates into the mountains along river valleys. It runs swiftly and does not take to the air when chased. In the spring the male emits loud, monosyllabic, rasping cries. The corncrake nests on the ground. A clutch contains seven to 12 eggs, which the female incubates for 15–17 days. Newly hatched nestlings are covered with black-brown down. The birds feed on small invertebrates and seeds. They are hunted for sport.