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Common Moorhen | Birds And Me

Common Moorhen


Common Moorhen

Scientific Name:  Gallinula chloropus

Common Moorhen image

Common Moorhen  Photo by:  --

Bird Type:  Duck-like Birds    641  Views


The common moorhen is medium sized bird with marked sexual dimorphism. The male bird is larger and measures 30 to 40 cm in length and weighs 250 to 500 grams. The female bird weighs 200 to 300 grams. The wingspan is 50 to 55 cm. These moorhen have black/dark brown plumage and white undertail. The frontal shield is red and in adults has rounded top. The tip of the bill is yellow. They have long legs and toes which are yellow in color.


  • 32-35 cm

  • 13-14 Inch

  • brown

  • black  (Bird may have more colors)
  •    পানীডাউক
  •    পাতি জলমুরগি
  •    बोडोर
  •    Gallinule poule-d’eau
  •    જળ કૂકડી, જળમુરઘી
  •    काली जलमुर्गी
  •    പട്ടക്കോഴി
  •    काळी पाणकोंबडी
  •    बगाले सिमकुखुरा
  •    कृष्णा जलकुक्कुटी

The Common Moorhen frequents freshwater or brackish wetlands with fringing vegetation and brushy cover. It is found near ponds, slow rivers, marshes and lakes, and also in parks in urban areas.


These moorhen species are omnivorous and feed on plant matter like algae, moss, the vegetative parts of reeds, aquatic plants, flowers, seeds, grass, shoots, berries, fruits and cereal crops. They also feed on small fish, invertebrates, aquatic insects, terrestrial insects, worms and mollusks.


The Common Moorhen utters a variety of sharp calls. We can frequently hear a low, rolling krrruck, a sudden short chuck, and a sharp kik or kittick. It gives a repeated fast clucking krek-krek-krek-krek often in flight, and mainly at night during spring. When they fight, the birds utter short clocking chatter.


The common moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) is a medium sized water bird belonging to the crake and rail family, Rallidae. The moorhen is distributed in Europe, Africa, Asia, Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, Philippines and Indonesia.
Except for polar regions and tropical rain forests, it is found in most of the wetlands, marshes and water bodies with thick vegetation. There are five recognized subspecies of the common moorhen.
These rails are mostly brown and black with some white markings in plumage colour. Unlike many of the rails they are usually easy to see, feeding in open water margins rather than hidden in reedbeds.

They have short rounded wings and are weak fliers, although usually capable of covering long distances. The common moorhen in particular migrates up to 2,000 km from some of its breeding areas in the colder parts of Siberia. Those that migrate do so at night. The Gough moorhen on the other hand is considered almost flightless; it can only flutter some metres. As common in rails, there has been a marked tendency to evolve flightlessness in island populations.

Moorhens can walk very well on their strong legs, and have long toes that are well adapted to soft uneven surfaces.

These birds are omnivorous, consuming plant material, small rodents, amphibians and eggs. They are aggressively territorial during the breeding season, but are otherwise often found in sizeable flocks on the shallow vegetated lakes they prefer.

    Resident (inc. local and altitudinal migrants)
    Former range (no recent records but may still survive)
    Summer visitor (including summer monsoon)
    Winter visitor
    Passage (autumn and/or spring) visitor
    known to be occasional, scarce or erratic
    Small isolated population (actual range smaller)  
    Isolated record(s) - one or more in the same area  
 colour coded for seasonality as per coloured ranges, black denotes unspecified season