Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Water Rail (Rallus aquaticus)

OTHER NAMES: Western Water Rail
Latin Etymology: Rallus (latinized form of rail) aquaticus ("water living")
 Adult Water Rail (subspecies R. a. aquaticus) at Regent's Park, London - December 2009

Featured Subspecies: Rallus aquaticus aquaticus
Weight: 92-164g  /  Length: 23-28cm  /  Wingspan: 38-45cm
UK GREEN LIST / IUCN Red List: Least Concerned

The water rail is a secretive relative of the moorhen and coot which favours living in reed beds. It really is far more shy than it's more common neighbors, and thus is quite possibly under recorded. It is smaller than both, with a long thin red beak and a grey and brown colour scheme. Best views are achieved when they don't know you are there, as when alerted to your presence they slip straight back into vegetation.  It is probably easiest to see Water Rails in Winter - at this point food is scarcer and reeds die back, forcing them into the open more often.

Related Species:
Order: Gruiformes
Family: Rallidae
Genus: Rallus
Subspecies: R. a. hibernans, R. a. aquaticus, R. a. korejewi

- Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - Common to Locally abundant Breeding Resident (9000 pairs) and Common Winter Visitor (41000 birds)

Further Notes: BirdForum Opus, IUCN Red ListRSPBWikipedia, Xeno-canto

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