Breeding Water Rails

Water Rails are secretive birds whose breeding status in Berkshire is poorly documented. In the Atlas surveys of 2008-2011, Water Rails were confirmed to have bred in only five tetrads, with probable breeding in a further three. All but one of these sites were in the Kennet valley between Hungerford and Padworth.

Following a successful pilot breeding survey in 2016, in 2017 and 2018 a team of surveyors monitored suitable habitat in twenty tetrads along the much of the Kennet and parts of the Blackwater, Pang, Loddon and Thames.   Water Rails were found at 36 locations in seventeen tetrads, the majority in the Kennet Valley.  The map below shows the areas surveyed in  red and Water Rail locations as white dots. The survey report can be downloaded here.