The water rail is smaller and distinctly slimmer than the moorhen The water rail is a fairly common but highly secretive inhabitant of freshwater wetlands. It has chestnut-brown and black upperparts, grey face and underparts and black-and-white barred flanks, and a long red bill. Difficult to see in the breeding season, it is relatively easier to find in winter, when it is also more numerous and widespread. Although usually secretive they can become confiding but are still far more often heard than seen.
It is a bird I have admired usually very briefly as it scurries in and out of the reedbeds it calls home.