Crake, Or Corn Crake, a European representative of the rallidcB or rail family of wading birds, of the genus crex (Bechst.). The bill is conical, shorter than the head, and the whole appearance and habits are much like those of gallinaceous birds. The European land rail or corn crake (C. pratensis, Bechst.) is about 10 inches long; the general color above is" blackish brown, with lighter edges, but without white spots; grayish below. It lives and nestles in fields and meadows, running with great rapidity; its cry resembles the syllables "crex, crex," causing a disagreeable rattling in the throat, whence the name rail, derived from the French rale, according to Buffon. It is a solitary bird, remaining concealed during the day, and seeking its food in the morning and evening; it is a northern species, migrating to central Europe in spring and returning in October; the French call it "king of the quails," from its coming and going about the same time with that bird. In summer it? seems to be a constant visitor to Greenland, and it is occasionally seen on the E. coast of the United States. It feeds principally on grains, insects, and worms.
The American bird coming nearest to it is the yellow-breasted rail (porzana Noveboracemis, Vieill.); for its description, and for the characters of the family, see Rail.
Corn Crake (Crex prateusis).