CRAKE, a genus of birds belonging to the order Gralke of which the Corn Crake (Ortygonctra (Tex) is the mcst familiar example. This bird is a summer visitor to Britain and to Northern Europe generally, where its migrations extend as far north as Iceland. It reaches Britain in April, and leaves in October, having meanwhile raised a brood of young. It frequents rich meadows and green corn-fields in the neighbourhood of water, where its presence is made known by the peculiar creaking sound emitted by the male as a call note to the female. After mating their crek-crek, not unlike the noise made by passing the nail of the finger over the teeth of a small comb, is much seldomer heard, and the work of building the nest, which is a simple structure formed of dried plants placed on the ground, is proceeded with. The eggs, from seven to fourteen in number, are about 4 inches in length and an inch in breadth, and are of a slightly reddish-white colour spotted and speckled with reddish-brown. The young crakes are covered at first with a black down, but soon assume their feathers, and are able to fly in six weeks. The upper plumage of the male is for the most part a yellowish-brown, each feather being marked with a central streak of a darker colour, and the under surface a pale buff transversely barred with reddish-white. The Corn Crake, or Land Rail, as it is sometimes called, feeds on snails, slugs, worms, and seeds. It is a shy and timid bird, seeking safety in concealment among the rank herbage which it frequents, and through which it runs with amazing rapidity ; its note may thus be heard in quick succession proceeding from the most diverse parts of the same field, a circumstance which seems to have suggested the idea that the crake possessed for protective purposes a certain ventriloquial power. It seldom takes wing unless driven to it, and then flies slowly, with its legs hanging down, to the nearest place of concealment, and is thus much oftener heard than seen. In common with many other animals it is said to feign death as a means of avoiding a threatened danger. As an article of food the Corn Crake is regarded as a great delicacy. The Spotted Crake (Ortyqometra porzana), a smaller and more aquatic species, is much less common in Britain than the former, from which it is readily distinguished by the numerous white spots on the upper surface of its plumage. It breeds on marshy ground, frequently at the water's edge. The Little Crake and Baillon's Crake both Occur in Britain as rare summer visitors.