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  • Common Name (English): Common moorhen
  • Scientific Name: Gallinula Chloropus


The generic name Gallinula come from the Latin gallina, meaning "little hen". The specific epithet chloropus comes from the Greek chloros, a, on, meaning "green" and from the Greek pous, odos meaning "foot", as the moorhen’s legs are green.

Distribution and habitat

This species adapts quite well to areas bearing the hallmarks of human habitation, and can even cope with living within proximity to humans over longer periods of time. It is often seen in public parks near bodies of water (such as lagoons, ponds, lakes, ditches, wetlands or slow-flowing water courses), since it is fundamentally an aquatic bird.

It is widespread throughout the majority of the globe, however, this image shows a subspecies  that inhabits Central and Southern Europe extending to North Africa, Japan and Southeast Asia. G.c chloropus (Linneaeus, 1758).

Biology and Conservation

It usually nests in habitats where there is abundant marshy vegetation such as reeds and willows in which it also hides during resting periods. It lays up to 8 light-brown eggs with darker spots; both parents incubate the eggs and care for the chicks.

Moorhen populations are reasonable stable worldwide. However, like all aquatic birds, they are threatened by the degradation of their habitats as a result of human activities.

This species is omnivorous, feeding on aquatic vegetation, but also on certain insects and molluscs that supplement its diet. In fact, it is a species regarded as a friend to rice growers, who value it for pest control.

Those compiling censuses of different species’ populations find the Moorhen makes the job easier: when frightened by human presence, Moorhens emit certain noises by which they can be identified even if hidden.

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