Mobile bird identification
Bird Field Guide


Gallinula chloropus
Rails, Crakes & Coots Menu
Order: Gruiformes

Family: Rallidae

Genus:  Gallinula

Species: R. chloropus
Note the bright red bill tipped with yellow and the white strip along the birds flank. The Moorhen when seen this clearly is hard to mistake for any other bird.

The adult Moorhen is a mostly dark bird with a distinctive white under-tail and a white stripe down it's flank. It's bill is bright red with a yellow tip.

Adult Male & Female
Winter visitor
Resident bird
Passage Migrant
Summer visitor
Moorhen distribution
General distribution:
Common breeder, resident in the UK. Birds in Northern Europe move South and West in winter boosting numbers.
Lakes, ponds, rivers and marshy areas. Often seen out in the open on grassy meadows near water. Can be very shy but in some areas can become very bold, often feeding with ducks in public parks.
The Moorhen will feed whilst swimming, walking on land or on floating vegetation. The nest is usually in dense reeds or grass but sometimes can be out in the open, usually on floating weed or a small island.
Thanks to:; (Modified)
Adult Moorhen feeding.
Thanks to:
Identifying a Moorhen
* key ID points
*White strip along flank

Dark brown back

*Bright red bill with yellow tip

Moorhen swimming

Dark grey underside

Thanks to: (Modified)
Juvenile Moorhen
Juvenile Moorhen often cause some confusion. Young birds may lack the white strip on the flank, but they usually have the distinctive white under tail feathers of the adult. The body colouration is generally much lighter and browner and younger birds will often have a white throat. The bill of the juvenile bird is a dull greenish yellow.
*White under tail
*Jerks when walking