Water Rail

Taxobox
name = Water Rail
status = LC | status_system = IUCN3.1
status_ref = [IUCN2006|assessors=BirdLife International|year=2004|id=48955|title=Rallus aquaticus|downloaded=11 May 2006 Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern]


image_width = 240px
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Aves
ordo = Gruiformes
familia = Rallidae
genus = "Rallus"
species = "R. aquaticus"
binomial = "Rallus aquaticus"
binomial_authority = Linnaeus, 1758

The Water Rail or European Water Rail [This is the name is used for "Rallus aquaticus sensu stricto" (i.e. excluding their "Rallus indicus") in Rasmussen, Pamela C. and John C. Anderton (2005) "Birds of South Asia. The Ripley Guide".] ("Rallus aquaticus") is a small wetland bird of the rail family.

Its breeding habitat is marshes and reedbeds across Europe and Asia. It nests in a dry location in marsh vegetation, laying up to a dozen eggs. Northernmost and eastern populations are migratory, but Water Rails are permanent residents in western and southern Europe, with numbers augmented by migrants in winter.

Adults are 23-26 cm long, and have mainly brown upperparts and blue-grey underparts, with black barring on the flanks. The body is flattened laterally to allow easier passage through the reeds. They have long toes, a short tail and a long (3-4.5 cm) slim reddish bill. Legs are yellowish.

Immature birds are similar to the adults, but the blue-grey is replaced by buff. The downy chicks are black, as with all rails.

These birds probe with their bill in mud or shallow water, also picking up food by sight. They mainly eat insects and aquatic animals.

Water Rails are very secretive in the breeding season, and are then mostly heard rather than seen. They are noisy birds, with a rich variety of sounds including a distinctive pig-like squeal. They are easier to see in winter, especially if freezing conditions push them to the edge of the reedbeds.

The South Asian race "indicus" differs slightly in morphology and strongly in vocalisations; Rasmussen and Anderton (2005) propose that this taxon be treated as a separate species, Eastern Water Rail.


Gallery

Notes & References

External links

* [http://www.ibercajalav.net/img/147_WaterRailRaquaticus.pdf Identification guide (PDF) by Javier Blasco-Zumeta]
* [http://ibc.hbw.com/ibc/ IBC] Videos
* [http://www.bsc-eoc.org/avibase/species.jsp?lang=EN&id=CA133667293FEE07&ts=1220632972362&sec=summary Avibase] Links in turn to the Flckr Handguide images.


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Water rail — Wa ter rail (Zo[ o]l.) Any one of numerous species of rails of the genus {Rallus}, as the common European species ({Rallus aquaticus}). See Illust. of {Rail}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • water rail — noun 1. : any of numerous rails of the genus Rallus (especially R. aquaticus) 2. dialect England : moorhen 2 * * * an Old World rail, Rallus aquaticus, having olive brown plumage marked with black and a long, red bill. [1645 55] * * * water rail… …   Useful english dictionary

  • water rail — an Old World rail, Rallus aquaticus, having olive brown plumage marked with black and a long, red bill. [1645 55] * * * ▪ bird       (Rallus aquaticus), slender marsh bird of the family Rallidae (order Gruiformes), native to most of Europe and… …   Universalium

  • water rail — Gallinule Gal li*nule, n. [L. gallinula chicken, dim. of gallina hen: cf. F. gallinule.] (Zo[ o]l.) One of several wading birds, having long, webless toes, and a frontal shield, belonging to the family {Rallidae}. They are remarkable for running… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Water Rail — ilgasnapė vištelė statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas atitikmenys: lot. Rallus aquaticus angl. Water Rail vok. Wasserralle …   Paukščių anatomijos terminai

  • water rail — ilgasnapė vištelė statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas atitikmenys: lot. Rallus aquaticus angl. water rail vok. Wasserralle, f rus. водяной пастушок, m pranc. râle d eau, m ryšiai: platesnis terminas – ilgasnapės vištelės …   Paukščių pavadinimų žodynas

  • water rail — /ˈwɔtə reɪl / (say wawtuh rayl) noun 1. → Lewin s rail. 2. a common rail, Rallus aquaticus, inhabiting marshes and rivers of Eurasia, northern Africa, Arabia and Japan …   Australian English dictionary

  • water rail — noun a secretive rail (bird) inhabiting reed beds, with a squealing call. [Rallus aquaticus.] …   English new terms dictionary

  • water rail — noun a small wetland bird (Rallus aquaticus) of the family Rallidae that breeds in marshes and reedbeds across Europe and Asia …   Wiktionary

  • water-rail — …   Useful english dictionary

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