Taxonomy

Crex crex | Corn Crake | Traonach

Distribution

Status

Conservation status

This species is Red-listed according to Birds of Conservation Concern in Ireland 2020-2026 and is of high conservation value as a result. 

Species Biology

Identification

Due to the Corncrakes elusive nature, the characteristic ‘kerrx-kerrx’ sound made by the male can often be the only attestation to their presence in an area.

Standing at approximately 20 cm in length and with a wingspan of 50 cm, the male is typically larger than the female with a weight of 170 grams and 140 grams respectively.

This species has a brownish colouration with dark brown-reddish flanks and a grey belly (Corncrake Traonach LIFE, 2021).

The legs are a yellow-brown colour.

Diet

Corncrakes are omnivorous and will feed on various invertebrates such as insects, some molluscs and annelids as well as plant material such as the seeds of grasses and sedges.

Habitat

Commonly found hiding in tall vegetation within hay and silage fields, rough pastures and stands of herbaceous plants (Corncrake Traonach LIFE, 2021).

Reproduction

The corncrake is a ground nesting bird (Corncrake Traonach LIFE, 2021).

The female lays a clutch of 8-12 eggs that will hatch after an incubation period of 16-19 days. The eggs produced by this species typically weigh around 13.2 grams.

 The young fledge after 34-38 days.

These short-lived birds will only live for around two years and can breed at the one year mark.

Conservation actions

The Corncrake is the focal species of the Corncrake LIFE Project which is working with farmers and landowners to ameliorate habitat quality for the species within 8 Corncrake catchments in Ireland. Additionally, these 8 catchments also represent 9 Corncrake Special Protection Areas (SPAs).

Distribution

World distribution(GBIF)

Irish distribution

Historically, this summer visitor was rather common in Ireland but has since declined due to intensification of agricultural practices.

It is now restricted to areas of less agriculturally valuable habitat that is not intensively managed.

Temporal change

Records submitted to Data Centre in 2022

The following map is interactive. If you would prefer to view it full screen then click here.

Further information

Corncrake LIFE: https://www.corncrakelife.ie

BirdWatch Ireland: https://birdwatchireland.ie/birds/corncrake/

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds: https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/corncrake/

British Trust for Ornithology: https://app.bto.org/birdfacts/results/bob4210.htm

References

Publications

Corncrake Traonach LIFE, 2021. About the Corncrake: Ecology. [online] Available at: <https://www.corncrakelife.ie/corncrake-ecology> [Accessed 2 Jun. 2021].