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Common Gallinule/Moorhen (1 Viewer)

Jack Dawe

Well-known member
The AOU recognise the Common Gallinule and Moorhen as different species (Gallinula galeata and Gallinula chloropus respectively). I've no idea whether the two are split on this side of the pond, but if the former were to turn up in the UK, how would you identify it?


Stop Brexit!
IOC, and therefore also BOU, recognise them as different species too.

Look for the subtly different shape shield.

G. galeata has a broader, more flat-topped shield:

G. chloropus has a slightly narrower, more rounded top to the shield:

You'd probably need a decent set of photos from different angles to be really certain. Better yet, get a poo sample.

Edit: just to add - no idea how to distinguish juveniles!
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Jack Dawe

Well-known member
Thanks for the pointers. Looks like there might be a potential first for Britain waiting in the wings there, though I'll not be holding my breath! A quick sampling of calls on xeno-canto suggests that there is some variety in both species, so I wonder how clear cut their differences are - but maybe I have never listened to Moorhens critically enough.


Old Berkshire Boy
I don't think it's on many UK lister's or rarity finder's radar as a bird to seek out. Perhaps more difficult to identify than say, a ruby-crowned kinglet in autumn.
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