Weka

Plumage Scxc, aljkc

Habitat c

Migration »on-migrant

Species Sarorhrura tugeos

Length 6in( 15 tm)

distrihi hon

Ficmai.i-;

feathering

G11estnijt-H e aded FLl jf fta11,

A difficult bird to see because of its habit of skulking deep in dense vegetation, this rail is usually identified by its distinctive calls. Its nocturnal life-style makes it still harder to observe. The Chestnut-headed I'lufftail lives in grassy forest clearings and in grassy marshes, situated in the African savanna (tropical grassland). It feeds on insects, including ants, and other invertebrates, as well as seeds. Its name is derived from the finely structured feathers of its tail, which have a curiously loose, soft texture.

• DlSTRIBl JTION Separate areas in tropical Africa, from the Equator to N. Zimbabwe.

• REMARK This is one of nine species of flufftail. all of which live in Africa. They can be identified by their loud calls and sharp whistles, which differ in each species.

Ficmai.i-;

distrihi hon feathering

• upright ratting posture

chestnut wing short, strong • legs fami'y Rai.i.idak

Species fm rrrx

Plumage Scxcs a|ikc

Migration N|iKrant fami|i' Rai.i.idak

Species porsana carotina

Corncrake

At first sight, this species might he mistaken tor a gamcbird such as a partridge, hut its bright, chestnut wings, conspicuous ill flight, identify it for certain. It is a spring migrant to grassland, fallow land, and fields of growing crops, strongly favoring regions in which farming is more traditional and hay is cut by hand. Males newly arrived from migration can be seen walking in the short grass, not yet high enough to hide them. They become still easier to see when they stand upright, raising their bills to utter rasping "crex-crex" calls to attract females. The birds soon form pairs and then nest in the fields, '['he diet consists of earthworms, insects, mollusks. frogs, seeds, and shoots.

• NliST A shallow cup nest lined with leaves and grasses, concealed in grass or in an isolated tussock.

• DISTRIBl 'TION Breeds in Kurope and C. Asia. Winters In Mediterranean region and throughout Africa.

• RliMARK Originally a bird of moist natural grassland the Corncrake survived the spread of agriculture in past centuries by nesting in hay meadows. On modern farms mechanized hay production destroys nests, eggs, and young of Corncrakes, so the bird has become rare.

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