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Common Moorhen

Common Name Common Moorhen

Scientific Name Gallinula chloropus cachinnans

Species Birds

Family/Group Ducks, Geese, and Grebes



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A chunky somewhat duck-like (swimkming) or chicken-like (perched) bird with stout red bill (with yellow tip) and frontal shield; legs greenish. Mostly slaty gray, browner on back and wings, with white stripe on sides and flanks and white on under tail-coverts. Immature is paler, more olive or brownish gray, with whitish sides of head and throat, gray underparts with white streaks on flanks and belly; bill brown.

Habits and Behavior

Usually seen swimming (unlike Purple Gallinule), with head nodding back and forth. Flies relatively little. Has a variety of clucks and cackles.

Nicaragua Animal Guide