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(Common) Moorhen
Gallinula chloropus
Size: 29-35cm
UK Status: common resident breader / common winter visitor


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Common waterfowl, similar to Coot, though smaller. Has black appearance, though actually very dark brown above, and dark grey-blue underparts. White undertail coverts show inverted 'V' shape when viewed from behind. White stripe along side, red forehead and bill (with yellow tip) also distinguish from Coot. Juvenile plumage dull brown with paler front, often mistaked for Water Rail. Resident in most of Britain and western Europe, some migrating to eastern Europe in summer. Can be found anywhere with water, rivers, lakes, marshes etc, also sometimes seen in areas of damp grassland.

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