Corn Crake

Crex crex




Rails, Gallinules and Coots (Rallidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Pale green with red brown spots

Number of Eggs:

8 - 12

Incubation Days:

16 - 19

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

In meadows.

Nest Material:

Grass, leaves.





Corn Crake: Medium-sized rail, buff-yellow overall with brown-barred flanks, conspicuous chestnut wing patch, gray head and neck with dark crown, and yellow bill. Sexes are similar. Juvenile is duller and lacks gray on head and neck.

Range and Habitat

Corn Crake: Breeds in Europe and Asia as far east as western China, and migrates to Africa for the northern hemisphere's winter. Breeding habitat is grassland, particularly hay fields, and it uses similar environments on the wintering grounds. Very rare fall visitor to the east coast, but sightings have dropped significantly as European populations have declined.

Breeding and Nesting

Corn Crake: Nest is a shallow cup built among dense grasses or vegetation in meadows. Lays eight to twelve pale green eggs with red brown spots. Eggs and chicks tended only by female, while male may mate with additional females. Incubation 16 to 19 days. Chicks begin flying when 34 to 38 days old.

Foraging and Feeding

Corn Crake: Very active feeder but normally stays within dense grasses and meadow vegetation as it hunts for a wide variety of insects, invertebrates, clams, and small vertebrates. Also consumes some foliage and seeds.


Corn Crake: Monotonous rasping "crex-crex."

Similar Species

Corn Crake: Sora juvenile is slightly smaller, lacks chestnut wing patch, chestnut-brown back lacks distinctive mottling, and white undertail coverts lack barring.

The crown is the top part of the birds head.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X