Common Moorhen

      Gallinula chloropus

      Information

      Common Moorhens prefer to nest in the thicket on the edge of ponds, lakes or rivers and mostly only give themselves away through their guttural calls. They are easier to observe in winter because then they leave their well-vegetated habitat and are seen in meadows, parks and on open waters. When swimming or walking on mudflats and on meadows, they move jerkily, at the same time twitching their tail and flashing their white undertail coverts. Their elongated toes enable them to walk on floating leaves.

      Voice

      Status (in CH)
      regular, scarce breeder, migrant and winter visitor
      Annual cycle
      The bar on the top line indicates during which seasons the species can be observed regularly in Switzerland. There can be great seasonal fluctuations of numbers. The middle bar indicates the typical migration seasons of a species. The bottom bar indicates the period during which the species normally breeds. As a rule it spans the period from egg-laying to fledging of the young.
      Annual cycle
      Annual cycle

      Facts

      Population size in Switzerland (Pairs)
      1'000 - 2'000 (2013-2016)
      Migration behaviour
      resident to short-distance migrant
      Diurnal/nocturnal migrant
      Nocturnal migrant
      Length (cm)
      32-35
      wing span (cm)
      50-55
      Weight (g)
      250-420
      Nest site
      reed
      Food
      insects, earthworms, snails, plants, seeds
      Group
      Rails
      Habitat
      wetlands, lakes, rivers & streams
      Distribution
      Distribution
      Distribution