A secretive, solitary summer migrant bird, now rare in Cumbria with only 2 pairs known to have nested in recent years.
Habitat – thick low vegetation, grassland meadows and rough pasture.
Appearance – 27-30cm. Chicken like with a short pointed beak and a thick neck. Its flight is fluttering with legs dangling if only covering a short distance.
Voice – distinctive “crex - crex”, mostly heard at dusk or through the night.
Food – insects including beetles, grasshoppers & ants, spiders, worms, snails, and seeds, leaves and plant stems.
Population changes / conservation – now specially protected, numbers affected by mechanisation of farming and more intensive agriculture, including cropping grass for silage instead of hay. In the mid 20th century in Cumbria the corncrake was fairly numerous but from the 1950s their population declined so it is now a rare and irregular visitor.