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



(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.

References in periodicals archive ?
Objectives: The main aim of the project is to improve the conservation status of the corncrake in Latvia and to restore breeding habitats for the species in a degraded and abandoned section of the Dviete river floodplain.
Birdwatchers favour prime or zoom telephoto lenses to seek out elusive species such as the corncrake or corn bunting, which remain well camouflaged until the crops are harvested in September.
BirdWatch Ireland has been battling for 11 years to try to save the dwindling number of corncrakes, which are on an international environmental "red list" because of the threat they face.
Bewdley-born Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin once wrote a lyrical piece in praise of the English countryside, evoking the rasping call of the corncrake at dusk.
Corncrakes were as common as sparrows in the world she grew up in (that of a farmer's daughter in the north of Ireland in the 1920s).
The reality is we had days in June during the census in Mayo, Donegal and Galway like today and corncrakes won't call with same level of wind.
BORN TO BE WILD: Jamie hopes to release his corncrakes RIVALRY: Julie's on a mission A RISKY AFFAIR: Gina TRUTH HURTS: Ian's in for a shock in EastEnders EAU DEAR: Water SAD FATE: Rhinos
While the rest of Britain was awash, we enjoyed comfortable camping weather, listening to the Atlantic rollers crashing on the white-shell beaches and the corncrakes rattling, and watching the salmon making their way upstream on the high tides.
Corncrakes are bad to see, being secretive little birds, but they can still be heard in remoter parts of Britain.
Next came a move to Inverness, in 1991, to run the RSPB's North Scotland office, and continue conservation work on corncrakes, using a forerunner of the current agri-environment scheme to pay farmers to manage their land for these rare birds.