Common Gallinule (Gallinula chloropus)

Common Gallinule

[order] GRUIFORMES | [family] Rallidae | [latin] Gallinula chloropus | [UK] Common Gallinule | [FR] Gallinule poule-d’eau | [DE] Teichhuhn | [ES] Gallereta Comun | [NL] Waterhoen


Monotypic species


Physical charateristics

Medium-sized gallinule, with prominent bill and frontal shield and habit of constantly flirting tail, exhibiting white under tail-coverts. Looks essentially black at any distance, with unique combination of white line along top of flanks and white lateral under tail-coverts. At close range, yellow-tipped, red bill and red shield most striking features.

wingspan min.: 50 cm wingspan max.: 55 cm
size min.: 27 cm size max.: 31 cm
incubation min.: 21 days incubation max.: 22 days
fledging min.: 40 days fledging max.: 22 days
broods: 2   eggs min.: 5  
      eggs max.: 9  


Eurasia, Africa, Indian Ocean, Oriental Region, Pacific Ocean : Eurasia, Africa, Indian Ocean islands, South, Southeast Asia to Philippines, North Mariana Is.


Indispensably requires ready access to at least a minimum of open fresh water with adequate plant cover. Does not, however, remain within dense vegetation to same extent as many smaller rails, although this often forms part of habitat complex and is freely used for screening movements. Markedly arboreal, resting, roosting, or even nesting in waterside trees. When surprised on water will dive and evade pursuit by lurking almost submerged among aquatic plants. Prefers waters sheltered by woodland or tall emergent plants, avoiding those wide open, especially where exposed to wind and wave action. Overlaps with Coot along margins of lakes and rivers with cover and open areas readily accessible from water, but less at home beyond 100-200 m from edge, in either direction. More a lowland species than Coot

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