A secretive bird

Keldusvín – Water Rail – Rallus aquaticus

Today a Water Rail was spotted in a ditch near Selfoss. It is five years since one was last seen in Iceland. It used to be a breeding bird here but has now become a rare guest. Its habitat is freshwater wetlands in Europe, Asia and North Africa.

The Water Rail was well visible in the bright sun today but was not eager to be seen. If disturbed it hid under some weeds, easily blending in with its surroundings, and birdwatchers had to wait for some time for it to appear again.

The Water Rail is such a special bird and a shame that it does not exist in Iceland any more. Two main reasons are probably to blame for its disappearance, irrigation and drainage and the introduction of the mink in Icelandic nature. But the minks escaped from mink farms. Water Rails are vagrants that usually come here every year from Europe.