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The Corncrake (cover)

Publisher: Whittles Publishing, Dunbeath

Publication Year: 2022

Binding: Softback

Page Count: 189

ISBN Number: 9781849955027

Price: £ 18.99

The Corncrake: an ecology of an enigma

This comprehensive monograph is, perhaps surprisingly, the first to be published on this charismatic species. Extremely well referenced, while still being highly readable, Frank Rennie’s book provides a fascinating account of the Corncrake, both here and more widely across its range. As you would expect for a monograph, there are sections on breeding biology, migration, status, taxonomy, diet, mortality, and conservation. Refreshingly, the cultural importance of the Corncrake is also explored, and there is even an appendix with details of vernacular names – King of the Quail being one of my favourites. Also evident is the author’s love for this bird, perhaps unsurprising because he must be one of the very few people able to hear calling Corncrakes from both his home and office! My only small
criticisms are the lack of an index, the quality of some of the figure reproductions, and the absence of a more detailed discussion of the reintroduction work that has been taking place in parts of the former breeding range here in the UK. These apart, I’d definitely recommend this book for anyone with an interest in this enigmatic bird.

Book reviewed by Mike Toms

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