Thursday, 12 February 2015

Day 103 - Wonderful Water Rails

Hi guys, today's Day 103 and as you know I have been at Stavely Nature Reserve recently and I saw a lovely water bird that I don't see very often. As you can see from the title and pictures today I am covering the Water Rail. While I was there, I got some great footage of the Water Rails as they were feeding. You can see it below;

I've also seen them at Titchwell and Fairburn Ings but not as well as this time at Stavely. Anyway, here are some facts about these lovely birds.
  • They are 26cm long and have a 42cm wingspan. Also, males weigh 140g while the females weigh 110g.
  • They have a green status although there are only around 1,100 breeding territories.
  • Water Rails have a number of local names which are Velvet Runner, Skittycock, Sharmer. I'm guessing the first two refer to its habit of running away into the reeds at the slightest disturbance.
  • Numbers have recovered from the period 1996-2007 when they were Amber Status.
  • They are omnivorous but eat mainly small fish, snails and insects.
  • Their calls can be quite unusual and have been described as a 'pig like squealing' through to 'purring like contented squirrels'
  • They are resident across most of the UK and inhabit marshes, swamps and reedy lake margins.
  • Water Rails are quite affected by cold weather when they can be come predatory and attack quite large species. They can become weak quite quickly in icy spells.
  • They can sometimes be seen carrying their young in the tips of their bills thought they are much more secretive in the breeding season than in the winter.
Well I really enjoy seeing these birds and loved finding out more about them. If you want to know more try these links:



  1. I remember visiting Minsmere and spending the whole holiday on the lookout for Water Rail - eventually saw part of one disappearing into the reeds. This is a real treat.

  2. It was wonderful Jennifer. There was a lot of water rail activity when I went. The two in the film were closest but there was at least one more at the back of the reeds where these were feeding as it got chased off from time to time.