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Conservation status: Green

Moorhens are blackish with a red and yellow beak and long, green legs. Seen closer-up, they have a dark brown back and wings and a more bluish-black belly, with white stripes on the flanks.

Illustrations

Overview

Latin name

Gallinula chloropus

Family

Rails (Rallidae)

Where to see them

Around any pond, lake, stream or river, or even ditches in farmland. Moorhens can live in cities as well as the countryside. In the UK they breed in in lowland areas, especially in central and eastern England. They're scarce in northern Scotland and the uplands of Wales and northern England. UK breeding birds are residents and seldom travel far.

When to see them

Any time of year, and any time of day. You might even hear them calling at night.

What they eat

Water plants, seeds, fruit, grasses, insects, snails, worms and small fish.

Population

EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-270,000 pairs330,000 birds-

Distribution

Key

Audio

Patrik Aberg, Xeno-canto

Similar birds

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