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Gallinula chloropus

(Common Moorhen)


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Common Names

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Click on the language to view common names.

Common Names in Afrikaans:

Grootwaterhoender, Waterhoender

Common Names in Albanian:

Pulëza e ujit

Common Names in Arabic:

دجاجة الماء

Common Names in Armenian:


Common Names in Azerbaijani:

Qamış toyuğu

Common Names in Basque:

Uroilo arrunt

Common Names in Breton:

Douryar voutin

Common Names in Bulgarian:


Common Names in Catalan, Valencian:

Polla d'aigua , Polla d'aigua

Common Names in Chinese:


Common Names in Czech:

Slípka zelenonohá

Common Names in Danish:

Grønbenet rørhøne

Common Names in Divehi, Dhivehi, Maldivian:

އޮޅުވަލު ކަނބިލި

Common Names in Dutch:


Common Names in Dutch Low Saxon:


Common Names in English:

Common Moorhen, Eurasian Moorhen, alae ula, American gallinule, blue peter, blue rail, chicken-foot coot, Common Gallinule, Florida gallinule, Hawaiian Common Gallinule, Mariana Common Gallinule, Moorhen, Moorken, red-billed mud-hen, sedge peter, water chicken, water hen

Common Names in Esperanto:

Verdkrura galinolo

Common Names in Estonian:


Common Names in Faroese:


Common Names in Finnish:


Common Names in French:

Poule d'eau commune, Gallinule poule d'eau, Gallinule poule-d'eau , gallinule poule-d'eau, Poule d'eau

Common Names in Galician:


Common Names in Georgian:

ლერწმის ქათამურა

Common Names in German:

Teichhuhn, Teichralle

Common Names in Greek:


Common Names in Guaraní:


Common Names in Haitian:

Poul dlo tèt wouj

Common Names in Hebrew:


Common Names in Hebrew (modern):

סופית (עוף)

Common Names in Hindi:

Tanneer kozhi

Common Names in Hungarian:


Common Names in Ido:


Common Names in Italian:

Gallinella d'acqua , Gallinella d'acqua

Common Names in Japanese:

バン, バン (鳥類)

Common Names in Kazakh:

Қызылқасқа сутартар

Common Names in Kurdish:

Mirîşka avî, Mirîşka avî ya enîsor

Common Names in Lithuanian:

Nendrinė vištelė

Common Names in Low German or Low Saxon:


Common Names in Luxemburguish:


Common Names in Malagasy:


Common Names in Malay:

Burung Tiong Air

Common Names in Maltese:

Gallozz Iswed

Common Names in Manx:

Kiark ushtey

Common Names in Marathi:

काळी पाणकोंबडी

Common Names in Marathi (Marāṭhī):

काळी पाणकोंबडी

Common Names in Mongolian:

Хажилгат түнжүүр

Common Names in Navajo, Navaho:

Tóidoozohii bidaaʼ łichííʼígíí

Common Names in Norman:

Poule dg'ieau

Common Names in Northern Sami:


Common Names in Norwegian:


Common Names in Norwegian (Nynorsk):


Common Names in Norwegian Nynorsk:


Common Names in Polish:

Kokoszka wodna, Kokoszka zwyczajna

Common Names in Portuguese:

Galinha d'água

Common Names in Quechua:


Common Names in Romanian:

Găinuşă de baltă

Common Names in Russian:

Kamyshnitsa, Камышница

Common Names in Scots:


Common Names in Serbo-Croatian:


Common Names in Slovak:

Sliepočka vodná

Common Names in Slovene:

Zelenonoga tukalica

Common Names in Slovenian:

Zelenonoga tukalica

Common Names in Southern Sotho:


Common Names in Spanish:

Gallineta Común, Gallineta frente roja, Polla de agua

Common Names in Spanish, Castilian:

Gallineta Común, Gallineta frente roja

Common Names in Swedish:


Common Names in Thai:


Common Names in Turkish:


Common Names in Ukrainian:

Курочка водяна

Common Names in Vietnamese:

Kịch , Kịch (chim)

Common Names in Welsh:

Iâr Ddŵr

Common Names in Western Frisian:


Common Names in Zealandic:



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Physical Description

Adult : Head : black Face : Frontal Shield: red Bill: red with yellow tip Neck: black Body: Back: brownish olive Color: dark slate Mantle: tinged with brownish Rump : tail Sides: brownish olive with horizontal white stripe Legs : Foot Color: yellow Leg Color: yellow-green Tibia: tips vermilion Tail: black Crissum: black in center, white at sides.Immature: Head: sooty-gray Face: Frontal Shield: small or absent Bill: dusky or yellow Neck: sooty-gray Throat : white Body: Upperparts: browner than adult.Young: Face: Forehead: reddish Bill: reddish.


Adult : Red frontal shield above bill · Red bill with a yellow tip · Slate gray head , neck, breast and belly · Brownish back and upperwings · White stripe along upper flanks · Tarsus and feet greenish yellow, tibia red

Juvenile : Small, dull red frontal shield · Dark bill with dull yellow tip · Pale gray-brown head and underparts · Whitish throat and belly · Dark gray-brown upperparts · White stripe along flanks


About 14 inches long, with a wingspan of 20 to 23 inches. Adults weigh about 12 ounces .


Brackish ponds . Occasionally in freshwater ponds.

Vegetation: freshwater marshes • Maximum Elevation: 4,000 meters • Foraging Strata: Water • Center of Abundance: Lower subtropical: lowlands, lower than 500 m.; subtropics. • Sensitivity to Disturbance: Low

Typically found at an altitude of 0 to 4,622 meters (0 to 15,164 feet).[1]

Ecology: Behaviour This species is predominantly sedentary or locally dispersive, but makes partially or fully migratory movements in the northern parts of its range due to its vulnerability to freezing conditions2. Most northern populations move south from September to December, returning again from March to May1. The species breeds in solitary territorial pairs during the spring , especially during wet months (the exact timing varying geographically)1. It remains largely solitary throughout the year although juveniles and adults may form diurnal feeding groups of up to 30 individuals in the winter, especially during hard weather2, often congregating on sheltered lakes and ponds1. Habitat The species inhabits freshwater wetlands, both still and moving, requiring easy access to open water1 and showing a preference for waters sheltered by woodland, bushes or tall emergent vegetation1, 2. Suitable habitats include slow-flowing rivers1, 2, oxbow lakes2, streams , canals, ditches, lakes, reservoirs , sites with small open water surfaces such as pools and ponds only a few metres across, swamps , marshes1, 2, seasonally flooded sites1 such as flood-plains2, disused gravel pits , rice-fields1, 2, sewage ponds2, and occasionally mangroves (Puerto Rico) and seashores (Azerbaijan)2. It generally avoids very open sites (especially those exposed to wind or wave action)1, 2 and oligotrophic or saline habitats (although it may be found on brackish waters)1, 2. When foraging the species may range onto drier grassland, agricultural land or meadows, and on migration and in the winter months it can often be observed on damp grassland away from water2. Diet The species is omnivorous and opportunistic , its diet consisting of earthworms, crustaceans, molluscs , adult and larval insects (especially flies, mayflies, caddisflies, bugs, beetles and Lepidoptera), spiders, small fish, tadpoles and occasionally birds eggs , as well as plant matter such as filamentous algae, moss, the vegetative parts of reeds and aquatic plants , the seeds of reeds, rushes, sedges, water-lilies, waterside herbaceous vegetation, trees (Ulmus spp. ) and cereal crops , flowers of Eichhornia spp., and the berries and fruits of yew, Rubus, Sorbus, Rosa, Crataegus, Rhamnus, Hedera, Sambucus, Hippophae spp. and various orchard trees1. Breeding site The nest varies between a shallow saucer and a deep cup constructed from twigs and waterside vegetation, and can be floating on or positioned up to 1 m above water in emergent vegetation , or positioned on a solid platform of branches in water. Less often the nest is placed in ground vegetation or in low bushes on the bank near water, or in bushes and trees up to 8 m from the ground1. Management information Early harvesting in rice-fields should be avoided as it harms nests and young broods of this species2.


List of Habitats:

[more info]


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Mostly: Plant Matter. Lesser Quantities of: Aquatic Invertebrates .



Some migrate


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Gallinula chloropus (Linnaeus, 1758)


Name Status: Accepted Name .

Last scrutiny: 28-Nov-2006

Similar Species

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American Coot

Members of the genus Gallinula

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 27 species and subspecies in this genus:

G. alleni (Allen's Gallinule) · G. angulata (Lesser Moorhen) · G. chloropus (Eurasian Moorhen) · G. chloropus cachinnans (Common Moorhen) · G. chloropus chloropus (Common Moorhen) · G. chloropus guami (Common Moorhen) · G. chloropus orientalis (Common Moorhen) · G. chloropus sandvicensis (Common Moorhen) · G. comeri (Gough Moorhen) · G. flavirostris (Azure Gallinule) · G. galeata (Common Gallinule (American)) · G. galeata cachinnans (Common Gallinule) · G. galeata garmani (Common Gallinule (Altiplano)) · G. galeata pauxilla (Common Gallinule) · G. martinica (American Purple Gallinule) · G. melanops (Spot-Flanked Gallinule) · G. melanops bogotensis (Spot-Flanked Gallinule) · G. melanops crassirostris (Spot-Flanked Gallinule) · G. melanops melanops (Spot-Flanked Gallinule) · G. mortierii (Tasmanian Native-Hen) · G. nesiotis (Tristan Moorhen) · G. nesiotis nesiotis (Gough Islands Coot) · G. pacifica (Samoan Moorhen) · G. silvestris (San Cristobal Moorhen) · G. tenebrosa (Dusky Moorhen) · G. tenebrosa tenebrosa (Dusky Moorhen) · G. ventralis (Black-Tailed Native-Hen)

More Info

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Further Reading

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Data Sources

Accessed through GBIF Data Portal November 26, 2007:



  1. Mean = 921.000 meters (3,021.654 feet), Standard Deviation = 1,231.300 based on 4,461 observations. Altitude information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]
  2. BirdLife International 2009. Gallinula chloropus. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. <>. Downloaded on 01 February 2012. [back]
Last Revised: 2015-02-06