121 Corn Crake
(Crex crex)


22-25cm. The Corn Crake (aka Corncrake) is half the size of a Grey Partridge and much slimmer, like a Water Rail in shape (quite long neck, rounded body) but with short, stubby bill. Plumage greyish yellow-brown with blue-grey band over eye and grey on breast-sides (grey colour less obvious on female); heavily dark-spotted above. In flight, which appears ‘flappy’ and unsure, shows red-brown wing patch and prominent, dangling legs. Hard to flush, sneaks away cleverly. Most often seen at dusk and dawn, when courting male's head sticks above the vegetation.


Breeds in bogs partly overgrown by reed, in tall vegetation of streams and bogs, as well as in lowland marshy meadows. The Hungarian breeding population has decreased in the past few decades,and strongly fluctuates according to water conditions. Its most significant Hungarian population occurs in the Bodrogköz area. Spring passage takes place between mid-April and early June, in autumn between early August and mid-September.

121 Corn Crake pic

© Graphics by Szabolcs Kókay

Source: 1) Lovászi Péter (editor): Javasolt különleges madárvédelmi területek Magyarországon, Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2002; 2) BirdLife International:IUCN Red List for birds. Species factsheet; 3) Králl Attila, Nagy Károly: Fontos Madárélőhelyek Magyarországon (Területek, kritériumok és minősítő fajok) MME Monitoring Központ, 2007; 4) Szabolcs Kókay bird illustrations; 5) www.hungarianbirdwatching.com bird descriptions and checklists, 2004-2012; 6) Lars Svensson et al.: Collins Bird Guide: The Most Complete Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe 2nd Edition, Harper Collins, 2010; 7) MME Nomenclator Bizottság: Nomenclator avium Hungariae. An annotated list of the birds of Hungary. Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2008