Dusky Moorhen

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Dusky Moorhen
Conservation status: Secure
Photo: Dusky Moorhen
Dusky Moorhen
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 which occurs in Australia, New Guinea and Indonesia.

The New Guinea birds are smaller, at 25-32cm in length, than the Australian race (35-40 cm, 55-65 cm wingspan). In Indonesia, this species is loosing ground to the closely related Common Moorhen on those islands where both birds occur.

The adult Dusky Moorhen is mainly dark grey-black, with a browner tinge to the upperparts. 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.

Reference

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