Nature Journal
with Photos

Common Moorhen Identification Tips
(Credit: U. S. Geological Survey)
General Information
- Fairly large, duck-like waterbird with short wings
  and a short tail
- Very short, thick bill
- Frequently seen both swimming and walking
- Often flicks and cocks short tail while walking,
  exposing white outer undertail coverts which are
  also easily visible while swimming
- Sexes similar

- Red frontal shield above bill
- Red bill with a yellow tip
- Slate gray head, neck, breast and belly
- Brownish back and upperwings
- White stripe along upper flanks
- Tarsus and feet greenish yellow, tibia red

- Small, dull red frontal shield
- Dark bill with dull yellow tip
- Pale gray-brown head and underparts
- Whitish throat and belly
- Dark gray-brown upperparts
- White stripe along flanks

Similar species

In poor light, adult can be confused with Purple Gallinule, but can be distinguished by red forehead shield and white flank stripe. American Coot has a whitish bill, lacks the flank stripe and has a slate gray back. Immature Purple Gallinules are much paler and lack the white flank stripe.
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