Common Moorhen
A moorhen and her chicks.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Gruiformes
Family: Rallidae
Genus: Gallinula
Species: Gallinula chloropus

The Moorhen, (Gallinula chloropus), is common bird in the Rallidae family. Moorhens are often found at parks and can become quite tame.


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A couple of moorhens.

Moorhens have red beaks with a yellow tip and blueish heads and underparts. Adults have a dark brown back and wings, and a white stripe along their side.


Moorhens are often wary, but can become quite tame in urban areas, and are often seen a parks, eating food thrown to ducks. When they are in danger, or in search of food, moorhens will dive underwater and stay submerged for a surprisingly long amount of time. Moorhens swim with jerky movements and while flying let their legs dangle.


Moorhens eat many different things, including bread or other food used for feeding birds, but they mainly feed on different types of seed. They can feed when swimming or when on land.


Moorhens nest near ponds or other water, and near vegetation. Their nests are normally built in reeds, where they are well hidden, it is a round shape. The clutch can be anything from 2 to 17, the eggs are green, and have dark markings.