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Conservation status: Green

All-black and larger than its cousin, the moorhen, it has a distinctive white beak and 'shield' above the beak which earns it the title 'bald'. Its feet have distinctive lobed flaps of skin on the toes, which act instead of webs when swimming. It patters noisily over the water before taking off and can be very aggressive towards others.

Illustrations

Overview

Latin name

Fulica atra

Family

Rails (Rallidae)

Where to see them

Mainly on freshwater lakes, gravel pits, reservoirs, rivers and town park lakes when deep enough. Sometimes seen offshore, especially in winter if freshwater areas are frozen.

When to see them

All year round.

What they eat

Vegetation, snails and insect larvae.

Population

EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-31,000 pairs190,000 birds-

Distribution

Key

In the UK
All except far N and W of Scotland

Audio

David Farrow, Xeno-canto

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