Common moorhen

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Common moorhen ( Gallinula crolopus )


The common moorhen  which is often also known the waterhen and as the swamp chicken is a bird species in the family Rallidae. It is distributed across many parts of the West and south Asia as well as West and South Africa .The common moorhen lives around well-vegetated marshes, ponds, canals and other wetlands. The species is not found in any polar regions and also not in tropical rain forests . Elsewhere it is likely the most common rail species. Commonly it is known as “পাতি জলমুরগি ( Patti Jolmurgi ) ” in Bengali.

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Common moorhen in Central park, kolkata


Where could you spot the Common moorhen in Kolkata?

Since the species is a waterbird, they can be mostly spotted near the lakes, ponds, and marshes. You can spot the bird at most of the birding locations in the city especially with the ones having a waterbody nearby namely Central Park, Rabindra Sarobar, and Santragachi Jheel, etc.

When should you photograph the Common moorhen ?

The best time to look for the bird is the summer season.The Common moorhen is very secretive and shy in nature; hence be cautious while getting close to them. Do not forget to carry a binocular to catch hold of the bird.

Photographing the bird, characteristics, breeding and the necessary details:

The Common moorhen The common moorhen is a medium-sized member of the rail family found in aquatic environments. It is 12-15 inches in length and has a wingspan of a little under two feet. It has gray-black feathers and a red bill with a yellow tip. It has white stripes on its sides. It has long chicken-like toes that help it walk on the top of floating vegetation and the mud. Males and females are similar, but males are a little larger.

The species inhabit freshwater reed beds, wetlands, and marshes. The common moorhen is omnivorous and feeds while walking on plants or while floating on the water. It swims across the water to scoop up floating seeds and other materials from plants floating on the surface of the water.

Common moorhen call: loud “ peeruck, kirrick – krek – rek ” sound

I have photographed the Common moorhen bird at Central Park, Kolkata near the reed beds of the park. While approaching them, be careful as they are shy in nature. They create a lot of noise during dawn and dusk. At Central Park they are mostly seen during the summer months which is their breeding season. They tend to forage on the ground most of the times yet even with a flicker of movement they will swim and hide into reeds.So, photographing them is often challenging.


  • Best time to look for them is the summers
  • They are very secretive and shy so if one might want to approach be very cautious.
  • In central park one can find them mostly near the reeds in the waterbody.


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