Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus )

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The moorhen is a medium-sized, ground-dwelling bird, that is usually found near water. From a distance it looks black with a ragged white line along its body. Up close it is olive-brown on the back and the head and underneath are blue-grey. It has a red bill with a yellow tip. It breeds in the UK in lowland areas, especially in central and eastern England. It is scarce in northern Scotland and the uplands of Wales and northern England. UK breeding birds are residents and seldom travel far.

The Moorhen has black plumage except for white feathers underneath the tail, and a red bill and frontal shield (forehead). There is a white line along the flank, and they have striking yellow-green legs and feet (the toes are not lobed).

Where does it live?

Freshwater lakes, rivers, ditches, small ponds; even in urban areas,

Where to see it

Moorhens are ubiquitously seen anywhere where there is water – from small ditches or a lake in a city centre park,lakes and resevoirs

What does it eat?

SeedsWater plants, , fruit, grasses, insects, snails and worms.

What does it sound like?

It's most familiar call is a loud, abrupt ‘kurr’uk’.

When to see it

All year round.

Similar species




Moorhen Link