The Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) is also known s the Waterhen, the Swamp Chicken, and the Common Moorhen. It is a medium-sized bird in the Rail family.
The Common Moorhen has dark black-grey feathers, except for a white undertail. It has a white line on its side, called a flank line. It has a red frontal shield above its yellow-tipped red beak. It has yellow legs that have no webbing between its four toes. It has orange-brown eyes.
It can grow to 30-38 centimetres (12-15 inches) in length, with a wingspan of 50-62 centimetres (20-24 inches).
The Common Moorhen lives in Europe and migrates to Asia and Africa during the European winter. It lives in wetlands, such as marshes, swamps, ponds, creeks, and floodplains.
It eats a wide variety of vegetable material and small aquatic animals. It forages in the water, and on the banks, sometimes walking on lilypads, to feed.
The Common Moorhen nests in a basket built on the ground in dense vegetation. Females lay about 8 eggs, which hatch after about 21 days. Both male and female parents sit on the eggs and feed the newborn chicks. The chicks gain their feathers after 40-50 days.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM