Dusky moorhen

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Dusky moorhen
Dusky moorhen442.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Gruiformes
Family: Rallidae
Genus: Gallinula
Species: G. tenebrosa
Binomial name
Gallinula tenebrosa
Gould, 1846

The dusky moorhen (Gallinula tenebrosa) is a bird in the rail family. It occurs in Australia, New Guinea, and Indonesia.

The New Guinea birds are smaller, at 25–32 cm in length, than the Australian race (35–40 cm, 55–65 cm wingspan). In Indonesia, this species is declining because of competition from the closely related common moorhen on the islands where both birds occur.

The adult dusky moorhen is mainly dark grey-black, with a browner tinge to the upper parts. It has a red frontal shield and yellow-tipped red bill like its Eurasian relative, but lacks the white flank line shown by common moorhen, and has orange-yellow rather than yellow legs.

Sexes are similar, but young birds have mid-brown plumage. This is a noisy species with a loud kruk call.

Dusky moorhen is found in wetland habitats, with a preference for freshwater marshes. It will forage on rubbish tips, and is generally omnivorous, taking a wide variety of plant and animal food.

This species builds a bulky nest at the water's edge, and lays 5-18 whitish eggs. It is territorial when breeding, but otherwise gregarious.

Various views and plumages[edit]