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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Common Moorhen

Afrikaans name: Grootwaterhoender

Common Moorhen wading through the water

Photo © Steven Herbert

Gallinula chloropus

The Common Moorhen is a familiar site on dams, ponds and other quiet and well-vegetated bodies of water.

The Moorhen has an almost world-wide distribution although there is some debates about the status of the species and sub-species found in different areas.

In some countries the Moorhen is called a Swamp Chicken.

The Common Moorhen can weigh up to 500 g with a length of 30 cm or more.

They nest on the ground amongst vegetation and up to 8 eggs may be laid.

Juvenile Common Moorhen

Photo © Steven Herbert

Juvenile Common Moorhen's are very drably coloured (above) while adults (below) have a smart black and white plumage with a red and yellow bill.

Adult Common Moorhen

Photo © Steven Herbert

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References and further reading

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Year Published: 1975 - Page: 164

Birds of the South Western Cape - Author: Joy Frandsen - Year Published: - Page: 71

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Year Published: 1999 - Page: 24

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 80

Field Guide to the Cradle of Humankind - Author: B. Hilton-Barber & Prof. L. R. Berger - Year Published: 2004 - Page: 179

Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of Southern Africa - 2nd edi - Author: Editor - Alan Duggan - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 409

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 201

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 198

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 144

List of South African Birds

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