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Moorhen (Gallinula)Moorhen (Gallinula)Moorhen (Gallinula)Moorhen (Gallinula)Moorhen (Gallinula)
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Moorhen Facts

Five groups that classify all living things
A group of animals within the animal kingdom
A group of animals within a pylum
A group of animals within a class
A group of animals within an order
A group of animals within a family
Scientific Name:
The name of the animal in science
The animal group that the species belongs to
What kind of foods the animal eats
Size (L):
How long (L) or tall (H) the animal is
25cm - 38cm (10in - 15in)
The measurement from one wing tip to the other
50cm - 80cm (20in - 31in)
The measurement of how heavy the animal is
70g - 400g (2.5oz - 14oz)
Top Speed:
The fastest recorded speed of the animal
35km/h (22mph)
How long the animal lives for
1 - 3 years
Whether the animal is solitary or sociable
Conservation Status:
The likelihood of the animal becoming extinct
Least Concern
The colour of the animal's coat or markings
Black, White, Brown
Skin Type:
The protective layer of the animal
Favourite Food:
The preferred food of this animal
The specific area where the animal lives
Marshes, wetlands and ponds
Average Clutch Size:
The average number of eggs laid at once
Main Prey:
The food that the animal gains energy from
Insects, Rodents, Berries
Other animals that hunt and eat the animal
Foxes, Dogs, Raccoons
Distinctive Features:
Characteristics unique to this animal
Small rounded head and pointed beak

Moorhen Location

Map of Moorhen Locations


The moorhen is a generally small-sized bird that is commonly found near large bodies of water such as marshes, ponds and streams. The moorhen is most commonly known for its small black-feathered body and (often) red, pointed beak.

There are seven different species of moorhen that are found all over the world today from the dusky moorhen of Australia to the lesser moorhen of Africa, and the spot-flanked moorhen of South America. The common moorhen is found throughout the world but does not occur in the polar regions or in tropical rainforests.

Moorhens spend their life on the water and have a number of adaptations including webbed-toes which aids the moorhen in both swimming and walking about on the slippery banks that line the water's edge. Moorhens are very sociable birds and spends their lives with other moorhens in a group known as a flock.

Moorhens are omnivorous birds and have diet that primarily consists of small invertebrates such as insects and water-spiders. Moorhens also eat larger animals such as small rodents and lizards and also pick at plants including berries, fruits and seeds.

Due to its relatively small size, the moorhen generally has a number of predators but this varies depending on the area in which the moorhen lives. Canines including foxes, dogs, coyotes, raccoons and dingos are the main predators of the moorhen along with large reptiles and wildcats.

Female moorhens begin to build themselves a nest on the ground in which to lay their eggs, in early spring. The female moorhen then lays an average of 7 eggs although the exact number is dependant on the species. The moorhen chicks hatch out of the eggs after just a few weeks, and both the mother and father moorhens helps to incubate the eggs and feed the chicks.

Despite their environment being drastically altered by habitat loss and pollution, the common moorhen have proved to be a very hardy bird as it stills thrives in most areas. Other moorhen species however are sadly listed as either vulnerable or endangered.

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First Published: 11th January 2010, Last Updated: 10th September 2018

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5. Richard Mackay, University of California Press (2009) The Atlas Of Endangered Species [Accessed at: 11 Jan 2010]
6. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 11 Jan 2010]