Common Moorhen

Common Moorhen or Gallinule (Gallinula chloropus)
Common Moorhen or Gallinule (Gallinula chloropus)
Common Moorhen

Order : Gruiformes
Traditionally there were about 12 wading and terrestrial bird families that did not seem to belong to any other order and were classified together as Gruiformes. These include the Buzzards, Cranes, Crakes, Rails and Buttonquails. Recent DNA analysis however shows that they are more closely related to each other than to any other bird and the order has remained surprisingly intact.

Family : Gallinules (Rallidae)
Consisting of about 134 species in 33 genera the Rallidae family has, in some circles, been alleviated to that of ordinal status (Ralliformes). Most members inhabit damp environments near lakes, swamps or rivers with reed beds being a favoured habitat. Most nest in dense vegetation and are generally shy, secretive birds. Island species often become flightless, preferring to run or swim from danger than taking to wing, and most are more likely to be heard than seen. Numbers are threatened due to the introduction of terrestrial predators such as cats and rats.

Name : Common Moorhen or Gallinule (Gallinula chloropus)
Length : 28 - 33 cm ( 11 - 13 in )
Local Names : Red-seal coot, water Hen

A common resident of swamps, lakes and pools throughout the Caribbean, the Common Moorhen is distinguished by it’s all black body, a white band on the flank and white under the tail and a conspicuous red frontal shield that extends to the base of it’s yellow tipped bill. It’s legs are green with red above the knees. It feeds mainly on aquatic plants, snails and other invertabrates that if finds swimming mainly along the edge of open water. The Common Moorhen can be a noisy bird repeating hen like clucks and squawks. The nest is usually near or on the ground, often amongst reeds near the waters surface. Between 3 - 9 spotted eggs are laid.

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Bird identification pictures
Common Moorhen or Gallinule (Gallinula chloropus) Birds of Tobago