The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Common Moorhen

Afrikaans name: Grootwaterhoender

Common Moorhen wading through the water

Photo © Steven Herbert

Gallinula chloropus

The Common Moorhen is a familiar site on dams, ponds and other quiet and well-vegetated bodies of water.

The Moorhen has an almost world-wide distribution although there is some debates about the status of the species and sub-species found in different areas.

In some countries the Moorhen is called a Swamp Chicken.

The Common Moorhen can weigh up to 500 g with a length of 30 cm or more.

They nest on the ground amongst vegetation and up to 8 eggs may be laid.

Juvenile Common Moorhen

Photo © Steven Herbert

Juvenile Common Moorhen's are very drably coloured (above) while adults (below) have a smart black and white plumage with a red and yellow bill.

Adult Common Moorhen

Photo © Steven Herbert

References and further reading

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Published: 2011 - Page: 76

Wildlife of the Cape Peninsula - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 2001 - Page: 41

World Birds - Author: Brian P. Martin - Published: 1987 - Page: 151

The Birds of South Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Published: 1949 - Page: 87

Southern African Wildlife - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1989 - Page: 136

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Published: 1989 - Page: 64

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 2011 - Page: 144

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 1993 - Page: 142

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1993 - Page: 198

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1985 - Page: 201

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1981 - Page: 148

Readers Digest Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of Southe - Author: Editor - Alan Duggan - Published: 1991 - Page: 409

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1975 - Page: 140

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 1984 - Page: 98

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 2000 - Page: 98

Freshwater Life - Author: C. Griffiths, J. Day & M. Picker - Published: 2015 - Page: 58

Ian Sinclairs Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair - Published: 1988 - Page: 104

Field Guide to the Cradle of Humankind - Author: B. Hilton-Barber & Prof. L. R. Berger - Published: 2004 - Page: 179

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Published: 1991 - Page: 80

Everyones Guide to South African Birds - Author: John Sinclair and John Mendelsohn - Published: 1987 - Page: 48

Common Birds of the North Coast - Author: Bing Comrie - Published: 2005 - Page: 24

Birds of the Transkei - Author: C.D. Quickelberge - Published: 1989 - Page: 52

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Published: 1999 - Page: 24

Birds of the Transvaal - Author: Tarboton, Kemp and Kemp - Published: 1987 - Page: 81

Bird Atlas of Natal - Author: Digby Cyrus and Nigel Robson - Published: 1980 - Page: 99

Birds of Southern Africa - Kruger National Park - Author: Kenneth Newman - Published: 1985 - Page: 36

A First Guide to South African Birds - 6th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1959 - Page: 164

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1975 - Page: 164

Birds of the South Western Cape - Author: Joy Frandsen - Published: 0 - Page: 71

A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: O.P.M. Prozesky - Published: 1983 - Page: 95


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List of South African Birds

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