Note: Do not rely on this information. It is very old.
Rail, any bird of the genus Rallus, type of a family (Rallidae). The Common or Water-Rail (R. aquaticus) is fairly common in Britain, though it often escapes notice from its shy habits. It frequents marshy ground, and its favourite hiding-place is among the thick vegetation near water. The adult male is a little less than a foot long; general plumage, brown streaked with black, slaty-grey on sides of face and under-parts.