Cornish Biodiversity Network  -  Supporting Wildlife Recording

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Cornish Red Data (2009)

The descriptive text, below the map, is from the Cornish Red Data Book (2009). The map on this web page depicts the organisms distribution and shows the records made pre-2000 and those made since.

Rallus aquaticus - Water Rail

Range & Status

Palaearctic; in Britain and Ireland there are in the region of 750 to 1000 pairs.

Regional Distribution

Cornwall: some five pairs probably breed annually. Recent breeding reports have

come from reedbeds in the Tamar Valley, Maer Lake, Marazion area and Gunwalloe.

Widespread in winter when may be found in ones and twos in most swampy habitats. Isles of Scilly: winter visitor in small numbers; has bred but no recent


Habitat & Ecology

Extensive reed ( Phragmites australis ) beds seem to be the best breeding habitat, but in winter also resorts to saltmarshes. Its retiring habits render this species more often heard than seen.


Wetland drainage.


Marazion Marsh is a RSPB reserve. Most sites are SSSI. Listed (long list) as a globally threatened/declining species (BSGR, 1995).


I.J. Bennallick, S. Board, C.N. French, P.A. Gainey, C. Neil, R. Parslow, A. Spalding and P.E. Tompsett. eds. 2009. Red Data Book for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 2nd Edition.Croceago Press.

The Cornish Red Data Book Project was led by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Federation for Biological Recorders (CISFBR). The full text and species accounts (minus the maps) are available on the CISFBR website.

Cornish Biodiversity Network. 2017.