Common Gallinule

Gallinula galeata

Order

GRUIFORMES

Family

Rails, Gallinules and Coots (Rallidae)

Code 4

COGA

Code 6

GALCHL

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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Copyright © 2004 - 2014 Mitch Waite Group

PHOTOS

PHOTOS 1200

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Common Gallinule is found around the world, except for Australasia, polar or tropical climates, and deserts. This species may also be referred to as a “waterhen”. These birds prefer to live and breed in wetlands, which may be marshy areas or lakes. Those populations which reside in southern Canada, the northern United States and eastern Europe migrate during the winter months to more temperate climates. This species forages for food while swimming, eating vegetation and aquatic insects. Due to its widespread regions and maintained or increased populations, the Common Gallinule maintains a conservation rating of Least Concern.

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BIRDS AND BIRDING

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

SUMMARY

Overview

Common Gallinule: Medium, chicken-like marsh bird with gray-brown back and slate-gray head, neck, breast, and belly. Upper flanks show distinct white line. Yellow-tipped red bill is short with red frontal plate extending onto forehead. Tail is white below. Long legs and unwebbed feet are yellow-green.


Range and Habitat North America

Common Gallinule: Breeds over much of Midwestern and southern North America through Central America and northern South America. Spends winters from the southern Atlantic states to South America. Prefers habitat with large areas of open water; common near reservoirs, ponds, freshwater marshes, and flooded grasslands.


Range and Habitat Hawaii

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INTERESTING FACTS

  • Despite lacking either webbed or lobed feet, the Common Gallinule is an excellent swimmer.
  • It is often visually and vocally confused with the American Coot. It is easily distinguished by the red shield-like plate above its bill.
  • The Common Gallinule is also called Common Moorhen or Florida Gallinule. It has been nicknamed swamp chicken.
  • A group of moorhens are collectively known as a "plump" of moorhens.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP NORTH AMERICA

About this North America Map

If displayed, the purpose of this map is to show how this species is distributed in North America.

Range Map for Common Gallinule HD

RANGE MAP HAWAII

About this Hawaii Map

If displayed, the purpose of this map is to show how this species is distributed across the Hawaiian island chains.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION



SONGS AND CALLS

Lang Elliott Sound

Common Gallinule 1

  • Title: Common Gallinule 1
  • Recordist: Lang Elliott
  • Description: Cackle calls rise in pitch, then descend as the tempo slows.
  • Date: "April 28, 2014"
  • Location: FL

Cackle calls rise in pitch, then descend as the tempo slows.

Common Gallinule 2

  • Title: Common Gallinule 2
  • Recordist: Lang Elliott
  • Description: "Kra-a-a-a" squawks from a group.
  • Date: "April 28, 2014"
  • Location: LA

"Kra-a-a-a" squawks from a group.

Common Gallinule 3

  • Title: Common Gallinule 3
  • Recordist: Lang Elliott
  • Description: Yelp call is a "keek" or "pip".
  • Date: "April 28, 2014"
  • Location: NY

Yelp call is a "keek" or "pip".

Common Gallinule 4

  • Title: Common Gallinule 4
  • Recordist: Lang Elliott
  • Description: "Keek" calls given near nest.
  • Date: "April 28, 2014"
  • Location: GA

"Keek" calls given near nest.

Common Gallinule 5

  • Title: Common Gallinule 5
  • Recordist: Lang Elliott
  • Description: Typical calls.
  • Date: "April 28, 2014"
  • Location: LA

Typical calls.

Common Gallinule 6

  • Title: Common Gallinule 6
  • Recordist: Lang Elliott
  • Description: Squawks.
  • Date: "April 28, 2014"
  • Location: LA

Squawks.

Voice Text

"kup"

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Yury Lisyak

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BellyX
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
BreastX
The upper front part of a bird.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X