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Dieren en planten

Birds   Game fowl   Water rail   Pheasant   Bird Protection   Other birds   

Water en land

Landforms   Rivers   

Water rail


22-28 centimeters
38-45 centimeters wingspan

color (adults):

brown back, blue-gray chest, black barring on flanks, long toes, short tail, long thin reddish bill, yellow legs


insects, aquatic animals

Dutch status:

nesting bird, seen year round (winter: small numbers), migrating birds (Sept-Dec)


dry area in marsh, reed beds


maturity: 1 year old
number of eggs: 6-11

life span:

unknown (maximum known age: +8.5 years)

  • Dut: Waterral
  • Eng: Water Rail
  • Fren: Rale d'eau
  • Ger: Wasserralle
  • Ital: Porciglione
  • Lat: Rallus aquaticus
Waterral, Jeroen Reneerkens (

Water rail

With their long legs and flattened body, water rails can easily move around in dense reed vegetation. They live very withdrawn and are rarely seen. However, they are noisy birds, making all kinds of sounds, including that of a squealing piglet. Water rails hide their nest in the reed, sometimes breeding twice a year. In that case, they make an entirely new nest and move the first generation to the new home.

  • Distribution and habitat

    Water rail like fields of reed and swamps, however you also find them by overgrown banks by rivers, lakes and ponds.

  • Protection
    • Monitoring: Network Ecological Monitoring
    • National legislation: Flora and Fauna Regulation
    • International: Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA), Bern Convention