Order: Gruiformes

Family: Rallidae

Scientific name: Gallinula chloropus, Linnaeus, 1758

IUCN Red list status- Least Concern

Did you know?

  1. Common Moore Hen is also known as Eurasian Moore Hen.


Common Moorhen is 30-38 cms long and weighs 270-350 gms. They have slate-black plumage. Upperparts are brownish. We can see a white stripe on flanks and white lateral under tail coverts. The pointed bill is red with yellow tip, and extends upwards in red frontal plate. The eyes are dark red. Legs and long feet are bright yellow-green or yellow, with red-orange upper half. Both sexes are similar, with male slightly larger than female. The juvenile is brownish with paler throat and belly.


Common Moorhen is a waterside bird. They can swim walks and run. They are omnivorous, and feed seeds, grass, rootlets and soft parts of aquatic plants taken by diving. They also eat snails, worms, crayfish, grasshoppers, insects, algae, tadpoles and berries. It feeds by picking food from the surface, or from aquatic emergent vegetation. Sometimes they dip the head, dabble and dive for food. It takes molluscs, seed etc from the underside of the floating leaves. They swallow sand and gravels to grind the vegetal food and speedup digestion. The forage time is mainly day and sometimes during night too and it is done solitarily or in groups.


Common Moorhen likes freshwater or brackish wetlands with fringing vegetation and brushy cover. It is found near ponds, slow rivers, marshes and lakes, and also in parks in urban areas. In India it is distribute throughout the union. It is also found in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar.

Reproductive Behaviour

The breeding season varies according to the range. During the courtship displays, the male brings water weeds to the female. It also fans out its tail, in order to display the white under tail-coverts. They are monogamous and the pair-bonds may last for several following years. The nest is a wide shallow cup made with dead vegetation well rimmed and lined with grass and leaves and it built by both parent birds. The nest is located in shallow water or on the ground in a low shrub, or on floating vegetation. Sometimes the nest may be seen in small colonies. Normally 6 to 10 eggs are laid. The incubation of 18 to 21 days and neonatal care is shared by both parents.


Call is a rolling “krruck-krruck”, a short “chuck- chuck”, a sharp “kik” or “kittick” and a repeated fast clucking “krek-krek-krek” during flight.

Related Species and Sub Species

  • Indo-Pacific Moore Hen(Gallinula chloropus orientalis)
  • African Common Moore Hen(Gallinula chloropus meridionalis)
  • Madagascan Common Moore Hen(Gallinula chloropus pyrrhorrhoaI)
  • Mariana Common Moore Hen(Gallinula chloropus guamiI)

Migratory Behaviour

Non migratory, but Uncommon Resident