Birds – Corncrake

Quite closely allied to the last and having the same stout bill, but a much shorter middle toe, is the Corncrake, – or Land Rail (Crex crex), of Europe and central Asia, which occurs somewhat regularly in Greenland and occasionally in eastern North America. It has a length of about ten inches, and is yellowish brown above, each feather with a dark center, and white below, with the flanks broadly barred with brown and buff. This is one of the commonest of British birds, being found in rich pastures and meadows, where it skulks and hides, or runs with the greatest swiftness and ease. Its low, creaking cry, which Mr. Hudson says may be imitated by rapidly passing the thumb-nail along the teeth of a fine comb, is sounded incessantly from meadows and fields. The nest is made of grass and dry leaves and is placed on the ground among growing grain or grass. The eggs are seven to ten in number, reddish with brown and gray spots.