29 June 2021

Rallus Aquaticus is the Latin name for this water rail.

Whenever I go out on a shoot I prefer to set up my gear near the water. Water attracts birds and if there are no other birds around, you always find some waterbirds. Ducks, Swans, different Herons, Geese, Great Crested Grebes etc. etc. and if you’re lucky you might spot a Kingfisher or a Water Rail.
Anyway, there’s always traffic near the water, so there’s also always an opportunity to get some nice shots. When a Water Rail is around, the same goes a little bit for the Great Crested Grebe you also find entertainment and waiting for other birds doesn’t feel that long. I find it entertaining when a little Water Rail moves up and down the shore in search of frogs, little crabs worms and other insects, but also is very much on the lookout for any danger. They won’t grow much bigger than approx. 25-28 centimetres.

The Water Rail, a very shy and cautious little bird

The Water Rail is before anything else a very shy bird and therefore it’s hard to spot them, but if you got your set up ready before they spot you there’s a good chance they will come out of the dense reeds and walk those shores and give you a chance to admire their beauty. Of all waterbirds, I think this one is my favourite.
It’s a widely spread bird and you will find these Water Rails all over Europe. They build their nests, made out of reeds, in dense reed and swamp areas and can lay 6 up to 12 eggs at the time. And although it’s quite rare to spot this beautiful Water Rail, it is listed as “Least concern” at the IUCN.

They always remind me of the videogame “Angry Birds”, they certainly don’t look friendly when you take a look at their faces.

What is your favourite waterbird? Do you also like to set up near water?