Highlands & Islands

Fewer corncrakes counted in Scotland this year, says RSPB

Corncrake Image copyright Steve Knell
Image caption The health of Scotland's visiting corncrake is gauged by counting numbers of calling males

Wet and cold spring and summer weather has been blamed for one of Scotland's rarest breeding birds having a poor season this year.

The number of corncrakes dropped by almost a fifth, RSPB Scotland said.

The birds are counted by listening for the call of males. This year 1,069 were counted, while last year there were 1,289 - the highest total in 45 years.

Corncrakes migrate from Africa to the Hebrides, with largest number of the birds flying to Tiree to breed.

There were 333 calling males counted in Tiree this year.

In Orkney, there were 16 calling males recorded - down from 36 last year.

RSPB Scotland said Islay and Iona had a slight increase in corncrakes, but there were fewer in almost every other part of the Highlands and Islands where they are found.

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