Fun Eurasian Moorhen Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Nov 16, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Eurasian moorhen facts are interesting

Are you amazed by moorhens? Then here's the Eurasian moorhen (Gallinula chloropus), a bird species that belongs to the family Rallidae.

This bird is known by three different names, the Eurasian moorhen, common moorhen, or the swamp chicken. These birds can be found in many parts of the world. These birds can be seen living in north and South America, Asia, and Europe.

Common moorhens are beautiful birds who have a dark gray to a black-colored body with a distinctive red-colored frontal shield and bill. The bill has a yellow tip to it.

They are found in abundance in the places they live in, and their population also has a stable trend. These birds are omnivorous and opportunistic feeders as they will eat whatever they find in most amounts in front of them. Many people in many regions of the world have been seen eating moorhens.

However, the swamp chicken is a wild bird. Hence, these birds are not farmed or there has been no record of them staying at homes as pets.

Read on to know more about the Eurasian moorhens, and if you like this article, then also check out drongo facts and pin-tailed whydah facts.

Eurasian Moorhen Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Eurasian moorhen?

The Eurasian moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) is a species of bird that belongs to the family Rallidae.

What class of animal does a Eurasian moorhen belong to?

Since the Eurasian moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) is a bird species, it is listed in the class Aves of the Animalia kingdom.

How many Eurasian moorhens are there in the world?

The swamp chicken is a very common bird species and is thus found in many regions all over the globe. Owing to the popularity of the bird, they also have a huge population.

As per the International Union for Conservation of Nature or the IUCN, the population of this species lies within a range of 5-10 million individuals around the world. Moreover, the trend of their populations is also not threatened in any way and is stable.

Where does a Eurasian moorhen live?

The Eurasian moorhen, or the common moorhen, is a very common bird and thus it can be found in many countries spread all over the globe. In Asia, these birds are found particularly in the south-eastern countries like India and the islands of the Philippines.

In South America, the range of these birds is vastly distributed across the continent involving countries like Argentina, Peru, and Brazil.

South Africa, Congo, and Algeria host these birds for the continent of Africa, while almost every country of Europe is a range for this bird. In North America, specifically in the United States, the common moorhen is found along the Gulf coasts, Arizona, California, and also in Mexico.

What is a Eurasian moorhen's habitat?

The main habitat of the common gallinule or moorhens is aquatic habitats. These can either be still water bodies like lakes and ponds or moving water bodies like streams or rivers. These birds are also found in slow water bodies like marshes or swampy lands as well as lowlands.

Who does Eurasian moorhen live with?

Not much is known about the social life of Eurasian moorhens. These are social birds and use a wide range of vocal tones for communication. Whether they stay in small groups or is a solitary bird is not known. However, these migratory birds migrate to temperate climates in groups or flocks.

How long does a Eurasian moorhen live?

The common moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) has a lifespan that is very short. While most of the birds are known to perish within the first year of their birth, a majority of those that survive are known to die the following year. The highest recorded Eurasian moorhen to survive in the wild was 11 years old.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season of the common gallinule or moorhens differs in accordance with the geographical region they are a part of. Such as, in North Africa, Eurasian moorhens breed during the months of April-August, while in Europe, they breed during the months of March-August.

This way, their breeding season occurs throughout the year around their range. These birds become sexually mature at the age of one year old. They show monogamous, polygamous, and polyandrous nature.

They also get territorial during this time. Not much is known about their courtship behavior. After copulation, the female lays up to 17 eggs, and the clutch size may differ according to the geographical region of the birds.

Both the adult male and the adult female incubate for the next 17-22 days. After the eggs hatch, the young chicks are precocial.

What is their conservation status?

The International Union for Conservation of Nature or the IUCN Red List places the common moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) as a species of Least Concern. Since these birds are found in large numbers in a wide range of places across the globe they are not known to be a threatened species.

Moreover, the population trend denotes that the species has a stable growth of populations around the world. However, human activities like hunting and destruction of habitat and climate change can lead to the radical perishability of the species.

Eurasian Moorhen Fun Facts

What does a Eurasian moorhen look like?

Common gallinule or moorhens are medium-sized birds. Generally, the plumage is black-colored, with a bright red shield at the front of their face.

They have a red-colored bill, with a yellow tip, and a white line at the top of their flanks. The head and neck of the bird are dark-gray to black colored, and the rest of their upper parts are olive-green to olive-brown.

They have red eyes, and yellow legs, and feet. They don't usually show sexual dimorphism, other than the fact that the females are usually smaller than the males.

How cute are they?

The common moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) is an elegant-looking bird. And thus as a result people find these birds both majestic as well as adorable.

How do they communicate?

The common moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) is known to be a social bird and thus it communicates through a wide range of vocal and physical cues. Vocals calls are in the form of chatters and clucks which denotes alertness for danger or other important calls.

As these birds are highly territorial in nature, the female is known to fight with other females and use murmur calls as a sign of courtship ritual.

How big is a Eurasian moorhen?

The common moorhen is a medium-sized bird and an adult Eurasian moorhen can reach lengths within the range of 12-15 in (30.4-38.1 cm). In comparison to a mottled duck, the common moorhen is relatively smaller. The usual range of a duck lies roughly around 18.5-22.5 in (47-57.1 cm).

How fast can a Eurasian moorhen fly?

Owing to limited information and data, the exact speed at which the common moorhen flies is not known. However, these birds are excellent fliers and they are known to migrate long distances in groups or flocks.

How much does a Eurasian moorhen weigh?

Though the common moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) is an average to medium-sized bird, they are light-weight creatures. The weight for the adult of these moorhens lies in the range of 6.7-17.3 oz (192-493 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no distinct name that is used to differentiate between a male and a female Eurasian moorhen. Thus they are simply known as a male common moorhen and a female common moorhen.

What would you call a baby Eurasian moorhen?

There is also no distinct name that is used to denote a baby moorhen. As they are birds, we can refer to them with common baby bird names like hatchlings. Thus a baby common moorhen can be called a Eurasian moorhen hatchling.

What do they eat?

These semi-aquatic birds are omnivorous in nature. They are also opportunistic feeders in the way that they will eat whatever is found in abundance near them.

In terms of animal-based food, their diet includes crustaceans, small fish, spiders, earthworms, tadpoles, mollusks, carrion, larvae, bird eggs, insects, and even rubbish. In terms of plant-based food, they feed on orchard fruits, flowers, grass, berries, cereals, seeds, and other plant materials.

They also eat fish food and duck food.

These birds are mostly diurnal and forage for food in the daytime, but sometimes when there's plenty of moonlight, they might be active during the night. They feed on both open water and land.

They might swim or walk on land or floating vegetations in the water and lower their head into the water to catch their food. They may graze over land and pick up fruits, flowers, or other plant materials from the plants or the ground.

Are they dangerous?

Though common gallinule or moorhens are known to display aggressive behavioral tendencies during the mating or the breeding season, these animals are not dangerous at all for human beings. These birds are shy animals are they usually don't like making their appearance in front of human beings.

As a result, they can be classified as animals that are not dangerous at all.

Would they make a good pet?

There has been no record of the common moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) being kept as a pet. They are wild birds and have specific habitat requirements to survive, so it's also better to not take them away from their natural habitat to keep them as pets in household environments.

Did you know...

According to scientific research, there are five subspecies of swamp chicken. These subspecies are Gallinula chloropus guami, Gallinula chloropus pyrrhorrhoa, Gallinula chloropus chloropus, Gallinula chloropus orientalis, and Gallinula chloropus meridionalis. There aren't many differences among these five subspecies, other than the geographical regions they live in.

Coots and moorhens don't have many differences, other than the colors of their plumage and frontal shield. The coots are blackbirds who have a white-colored face shield or frontal shield and bill, while the moorhens are rather dark brown to black colored birds with a red-colored face shield or frontal shield and bill and a yellow tip.

Do moorhens nest in trees?

Moorhens can be seen nesting in trees at low altitudes. Usually, the common gallinule or moorhens nest mainly in water over floating vegetations, or on the banks of some water bodies where there's a bush or a low branch of a tree that may be submerged in a little bit of water.

Other than that, they also nest on the ground, on bushes, or tree branches within the height of 26.2 ft (8 m) from the ground.

Are moorhens aggressive?

Moorhens like the common gallinule are not usually aggressive, in fact, they are rather shy birds. They only get aggressive during the breeding season, when they get territorial, or at a time when they are protecting their young ones. They can also be seen fighting each other over a potential mate.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our cape parrot factsand green pheasant factspages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Eurasian moorhen coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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