Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!
Length 30-36 cm; Mass 230-340 g (males larger than females).
Common Moorhen is a species that occur in Europe, Africa and Asia.
Widespread and generally very common bird in the Western Palearctic. Breeds from the British Isles and Iberia east to the Urals and Caspian Sea. In the north breeds around coastal Norway as far as about 66° N, in the southern half of Sweden and extreme south Finland. In the south breeds around the Mediterranean, on the Balearics, Corsica and Sardinia, Sicily, Crete, Cyprus and some of the Aegean islands and has bred on Malta. Also breeds at very scattered localities in the Canaries and northwest Africa, in the Nile Valley and in parts of western and southern Turkey, the Middle East and Iraq. Formerly bred on the Cape Verde Islands.
Populations from central Europe eastwards are migratory, wintering in southwest Asia or Africa, the remainder are resident or partially migratory. Also resident are small populations on Terceira and possibly Sao Miguel in the Azores, and a scarce but increasing resident on some of the Canary Islands.
Tristan Moorhen, G. nesiotis (extinct) was formerly lumped within Common Moorhen.
Common Gallinule from the Americas was formerly considered conspecific.
Virtually any kind of freshwater: marshlands and swamps, lakeshores and riverbanks, often in urban parks and sewage ponds. Frequently feeds on grass adjacent to water.
Often seen swimming and feeding while doing so, but also feeds during excursions up on e.g., lawns.
Not quite so quarrelsome as Coots
Runs across the water before take-off. Legs trail behind.
Swims with a jerky head movement.
Omnivorous. Grazes on land and dives, or dabbles, for vegetable matter, small crustaceans and insects.
Occurs in all months of the year; may rear up to 8 broods/year. The nest is a bowl of rushes and reeds concealed in dense aquatic vegetation well above the water level; built by both sexes. Clutch: 4-9 eggs (sometimes up to 11, possibly laid by 2 females). Eggs: Dark buff to grayish white, spotted, freckled and blotched with red-brown and slate; weigh about 25 g. Incubation: 21-22 days by both sexes; the female incubates only by day and the male incubates at night. Fledging: 40-50 days; young dependent on parents for 1-6 weeks after first flight.
Listen in an external program
 External Links