The Water Rail is easily recognisable with grey on both the underparts and head, with a brown spotted top half of the body. This species is quite reclusive and only comes out from the protection of reeds when foraging/hunting.


Distributed across most of Europe (with the exclusion of Northern Scotland and Scandinavia) and Asia, the water rail spends the majority of its time in marshlands and reed fringed ponds.


The water rail is an omnivorous bird and feeds on plant matter, insects, fish and small invertebrates such as snails.

Predators & Threats

A number of species that hunt in wetlands prey on this bird, ranging from herons, owls, falcons and foxes.


  • Water rails have weak flight and prefer to run or swim away from predators.
  • North and Eastern populations are often migratory, unlike their Western and Southern counterparts.
Common Name(s)Scientific Name
Water RailRallus aquaticus 
 25 Р30 cm
8 -10 years.

Best Time to Look

All year round.

Where to find Water Rail