Water Rail by the Stream

Some shots of a water rail at Loose Stream near Maidstone in Kent. He was quite an elusive bird to shoot at first. He was paddling around in the far area of the stream, keeping to the deep undergrowth and foliage. That was until some bread meant for the nearby ducks suddenly floated in his direction. He carefully stepped his way towards the food. He crossed the shallow water and reeds to the bread and then had a little nibble. With this new-found confidence and sustenance he came further out of the foliage and a little closer to me and my camera.

Water Rail Photo Gallery

The water rail is a member of the rail family which also includes coots and moorhens. It enjoys wetlands, often breeding in reed beds and marsh areas with suitable foliage and vegetation. It is a fairly common bird although quite reclusive, tending to skulk about in the cover of plants and bushes rather than display itself fully in open areas. The water rail also wears rather muted plumage colours of various shades of brown and grey, giving it a natural camouflage in foliage.

The Rail Family

The Rails (Rallidae in latin) are a large family of small to medium sized birds usually found living in wetlands and marshy areas. They also like densely forested habitats. They are a cosmopolitan bird family, with examples being found in most countries and climates of the world except for hot, desert-like regions. Rails have small, rounded wings and despite not being capable of powerful flight, they can fly for long, sustained periods when necessary. Many rails therefore migrate annually, although often don’t reach their desired destination. Due to their lack of powerful flight, Rails often get blown off course and end up in unplanned locations. This is why Rails are often found colonising isolated islands. More information on rails can be found on wikipedia.