Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)

Common Moorhen

Common Moorhen

The Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) is a very wide-spread species ranging through Europe, Africa, and Asia (up to Indonesia). Some authors even consider the Common Gallinule of North and South America to be merely a subspecies of the Common Moorhen. The birds inhabit wetlands, preferably smaller lakes and ponds with densely vegetated banks. However, they are very adaptable and even occur in parks within cities. In these areas the normally shy birds can become relatively tame and do not flee if approached. The Common Moorhen is an omnivore feeding on plants as well as insects, molluscs, and even eggs of other birds or carrion. While breeding, the birds defend their offspring quite aggressively against predators. If threatened, young fledglings have been observed to cling to the parents’ bodies which then fly away with them to safety!

I observed a couple of Common Moorhens in a public park in Kiel in northern Germany during May and June 2014. Interestingly, the birds were very shy at first, retreating already at a distance of more than 50 m. A few weeks later, I saw them again with young fledglings looking for food undisturbed by the hustle of sunbathers and picnickers – good for me and my camera!

Common Moorhen

Common Moorhen

mother & chick

mother & chick

feeding

feeding

fledgling

fledgling

Common Moorhen

Common Moorhen

Common Moorhen

Common Moorhen

two little ones

two little ones

swimming

swimming

Common Moorhen

Common Moorhen

11 responses to “Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)

    • you’re right! I also saw a moorhen fighting off several mallards, although they are so much smaller… interesting behaviour the fighting with the feet! I also sometimes take short clips with my canon 60d, but my laptop is too old to properly edit them… I also have not a proper clue how to export them to get most of the quality in a size which is possible to upload to any of the video-websites such as vimeo or youtube… the shootage is otherwise really well with the canon, I get nice HD quality – looks great on the TV, less so on vimeo – you may check one clip out on here: https://wildlifeweeks.wordpress.com/2013/11/09/kob/ but I don’t like the quality actually – they always compress it to a pixel-mess… anyways, quite great for you guys to be able to contribute to real wildlife TV productions… I will follow up on your work!

      • Ha, well, unfortunately it’s not as straightforward as some of us would like it to be, and you often have to convert the Canon videos into another format before you can import them into an editing software. What do you use? Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro X (the recent one Apple has released) should be able to digest the files as they are, but if you are using other softwares you might have to convert them to ProRes first. This is what I find gives the best results.
        Regarding Vimeo or YouTube, unless you pay for a premium account you can’t get the full HD 1920×1080 quality anyway, so you might as well export your videos at 1280×720 or these websites will compress it for you, which might cause further loss of quality.
        This said, it is the content that counts, and those Kobs look wonderful, they are the epitope of grace! Especially at the end of the video when they got startled and jumped off, such wonderful creatures!

  1. Amazing photography of the Common Moorhen! I especially love the photo of the fledgling and the parent. I was amazed by this which you wrote: “If threatened, young fledglings have been observed to cling to the parents’ bodies which then fly away with them to safety!”

  2. Pingback: Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra) | wildlife weeks·

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s