Scientific name: Rallus aquaticus
Size: 23cm to 26cm
Distribution: Found in most part of the UK
Months seen: All year round
Habitat: Reedbeds, marshes and ditches
Food: Insects, small fish, seeds and berries
Special features: Water rails have a small, rounded body. The upperparts are brown with dark streaks. The underparts are greyish, and the flanks are striped black and white. The long wading legs are brown and the beak, which curves slightly downwards, is red.
Water rails are secretive birds, thinly distributed, and confined to lowland areas. They are more frequently seen in freezing weather when ice on their watery habitat forces them to move out of cover to find food. The call of the water rail sounds a bit like a piglet squealing.