Common Gallinule Gallinula chloropus

(aka Common Moorhen)

Brazilian name:
frango-d'água-comum
Chilean name: Tagüita del norte

Common Moorhen, Aguas de São Pedro, São Paulo, Brazil, August 2004 - click for larger image The Common Gallinule is widely distributed across a large part of the world but is missing from the higher latitudes and Australia. It is found in freshwater wetlands, rivers, ponds, lakes, etc., where there is some vegetation cover.
Common Moorhen, Aguas de São Pedro, São Paulo, Brazil, August 2004 - click for larger image At a distance it looks black with a bright red shield and bill with a yellow tip. It has a white stripe on the flanks and very obvious white undertail-coverts prominently displayed under its flicking tail.

There are 12 sub-species which vary slightly in size and colouration. The sub-species in Brazil (photos 1 to 3 and 5 to 8) is G. c. galeata which has a darker back than the nominate European sub-species. It also has a squarish rather than rounded edge to the top of the shield.

Common Moorhen, Aguas de São Pedro, São Paulo, Brazil, August 2004 - click for larger image The 4th photo was taken in Cuba and shows a much browner back. It is probably the resident sub-species G. c. cerceris though it may be an over-wintering G. c. cachinnans from North America. Photo 6 taken at the coast in northern Chile is of the sub-species G. c. pauxilla.
Common Moorhen, Zapata Swamp, Cuba, February 2005 - click for larger image There are recordings and a distribution map on xeno-canto and access to more information on Avibase.
Common Moorhen, Aguas de São Pedro, São Paulo, Brazil, December 2006 - click for larger image
Common Moorhen, Mouth of Lluta River, Chile, February 2007 - click for larger image
Common Moorhen, Aguas de São Pedro, São Paulo, Brazil, November 2008 - click for larger image
Common Moorhen, Aguas de São Pedro, São Paulo, Brazil, November 2008 - click for larger image
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