Moorhen (Common Moorhen) Gallinula chloropus

An extremely familiar bird that can be found in the smallest of ponds. The majority of British birds are resident and sedentary, but they are joined by a few immigrants from elsewhere in north-west Europe in the autumn and winter.

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Moorhen, South Creake (Norfolk, UK), 15th August 2008

 

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Moorhen, Snettisham (Norfolk, UK), 3rd March 2015

 

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Moorhen, Strumpshaw Fen (Norfolk, UK), 14th April 2012

 

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Moorhen, Flitcham (Norfolk, UK), 9th February 2007

 

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adult Moorhen, Beeston Common (Norfolk, UK), 17th July 2005

 

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first-winter and adult Moorhens, Salthouse (Norfolk, UK), 12th November 2005

 

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Moorhens, Helston Boating Lake (Cornwall, UK), 21st November 2013

 

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Moorhen chick, South Creake (Norfolk, UK), 2nd July 2007

 

Moorhen chick, Flitcham (Norfolk, UK), 1st June 2007

 

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chick and adult Moorhens, Titchwell (Norfolk, UK), 7th July 2007

 

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Moorhen, Salthouse (Norfolk, UK), 15th December 2013

 

juvenile Moorhen, Porthloo, St Mary's (Scilly, UK), 11th August 2012

 

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adult Moorhen, Salthouse (Norfolk, UK), 22nd February 2014

 

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adult Moorhen, Lower Moors (Scilly, UK), 5th October 2007

 

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first-winter Moorhens, Salthouse (Norfolk, UK), 17th November 2007

 

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Moorhen, Cley (Norfolk, UK), 3rd October 2015

 

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first-winter Moorhens, Holkham Park (Norfolk, UK), 1st December 2012

 

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adult Moorhens, Holkham Park (Norfolk, UK), 1st December 2012

 

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adult Moorhen, Salthouse (Norfolk, UK), 21st March 2004

 

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adult and first-winter Moorhens, Salthouse (Norfolk, UK), 3rd February 2007

 

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Moorhens, Salthouse (Norfolk, UK), 16th February 2008

 

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Moorhens, Battersea Park (London, UK), 26th January 2013 - the three photos of adults are all the same bird

 

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adult Moorhen, Salthouse (Norfolk, UK), 7th December 2003

 

adult Moorhen, Cockshoot Broad (Norfolk, UK), 5th September 2009

 

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adult Moorhen, Cley (Norfolk, UK), 14th April 2007

 

adult Moorhen, Flitcham (Norfolk, UK), 9th February 2007

 

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adult Moorhen, Lackford Lakes (Suffolk, UK), 2nd June 2007

 

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adult Moorhen, Elvas (Alentejo, Portugal), 23rd April 2006

 

adult Moorhen, Flitcham (Norfolk, UK), 1st October 2003

 

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juvenile Moorhen, South Creake (Norfolk, UK), 25th July 2007

 

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Moorhens, Swanton Morley (Norfolk, UK), 1st April 2012

 

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Moorhen chick, South Creake (Norfolk, UK), 12th June 2008

 

Moorhen, Salthouse (Norfolk, UK), 22nd February 2014

 

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adult and first-winter Moorhens, Salthouse (Norfolk, UK), 31st December 2005

 

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Moorhen, Swanton Morley (Norfolk, UK), 4th May 2008

 

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Moorhen, Sparham Pools (Norfolk, UK), 31st May 2008

 

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adult Moorhen, South Creake (Norfolk, UK), 21st May 2007

 

juvenile Moorhen, Sheringham (Norfolk, UK), 12th August 2004

 

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adult Moorhen, Flitcham (Norfolk, UK), 17th March 2004

 

adult Moorhen, Newford Duckpond, St Mary's (Scilly, UK), 20th October 2004

 

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Moorhen, Flitcham (Norfolk, UK), 21st December 2005

 

adult Moorhen, Titchwell (Norfolk, UK), 9th September 2004

 

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juvenile Moorhen, Horning (Norfolk, UK), 12th June 1999

 

juvenile Moorhen, Swanton Morley (Norfolk, UK), 27th October 2007

 

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juvenile Moorhen, Holt Country Park (Norfolk, UK), 21st June 2014

 

adult Moorhen, Blakeney (Norfolk, UK), 18th January 2004

 

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adult Moorhen, Helston Boating Lake (Cornwall, UK), 25th September 2001

 

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leucistic Moorhen, Swanton Morley (Norfolk, UK), 12th August 2007

 

The American form of Moorhen has now been split by some authorities as a separate species, variously known as American Moorhen or Common Gallinule Gallinula galeata. So far as I know it has not yet been claimed this side of the Atlantic, but may perhaps be a potential vagrant? Probably the most obvious difference is the broader top to the frontal shield, but see David Sibley's blog post for more on their identification. In Florida I also found the call quite different from anything I have heard from European birds.

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American Moorhens (form galeata), Key West Botanical Garden (Florida, USA), 19th April 2013

 

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adult and chick American Moorhens (form galeata), Green Cay (Florida, USA), 25th April 2013

 

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chick American Moorhen (form galeata), Wakodahatchee (Florida, USA), 25th April 2013

 

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American Moorhen (form galeata), Gumbo Limbo Trail, Everglades (Florida, USA), 18th April 2013

 

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American Moorhen (form galeata), Hathaway Park, Washington Loop Road (Florida, USA), 14th April 2013

 

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adult and chick American Moorhens (form galeata), Tamiami Trail S-334 (Florida, USA), 14th April 2013