Birds of Morni: Common Moorhen

Common Moorhen/ Jal Murghi (Gallinula chloropus) is duck-like bird with a dark, black/brown plumage, a white undertail, a line of white feathers on the flanks, a red bill with a yellow-tip and a prominent red facial shield. The legs and feet of the moorhen are yellow. The feet are large and not webbed. It is a large bird and is a little over a foot in length. It is a common resident and winter visitor in India and is found in well-vegetated jheels, ponds and marshy areas. It gets its name ‘moor’ hen from its habitat, the word ‘moor’ being used to mean ‘marsh’. It feeds on vegetable matter and small acquatic creatures. It spends most of its time foraging near the water edges. It may swim in shallow open ponds. It builds a ‘basket’ nest or a high mound of reeds etc in dense vegetation.

Common Moorhen at Bunga, Morni Foothills