The water rail (Rallus aquaticus) is a bird of the rail family which breeds in well-vegetated wetlands across Europe, Asia and North Africa. Northern and eastern populations are migratory, but this species is a permanent resident in the warmer parts of its breeding range. The adult is 23–28 cm (9–11 in) long, and, like other rails, has a body that is flattened laterally, allowing it easier passage through the reed beds it inhabits. It has mainly brown upperparts and blue-grey underparts, black barring on the flanks, long toes, a short tail and a long reddish bill. Immature birds are generally similar in appearance to the adults, but the blue-grey in the plumage is replaced by buff. The downy chicks are black, as with all rails. The brown-cheeked rail, R. indicus, has distinctive markings and a call that is very different from the pig-like squeal of the western races, and is now usually split as a separate species.
The water rail breeds in reed beds and other marshy sites with tall, dense vegetation, building its nest a little above the water level from whatever plants are available nearby. The upper parts from the forehead to tail are olive-brown with black streaks, especially on the shoulders. The sides of the head and the underparts down to the upper belly are dark slate-blue, except for a blackish area between bill and eye, and brownish sides to the upper breast. The flanks are barred black and white, and the undertail is white with some darker streaks. The long bill and the iris are red, and the legs are flesh-brown.
Common bird in the Danube Delta. Easy to see in winter time.