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Dusky Moorhen

The Dusky Moorhen (Gallinula tenebrosa) is a species of bird in the rail family Rallidae. It is found in Australia, New Guinea and Indonesia. Its habitat is wetlands with a preference for freshwater marshes. It will forage on rubbish tips, and is generally omnivorous, taking a wide variety of plant and animal food. In Indonesia, this species is declining due to competition from the closely related Common Moorhen on the islands where both birds occur.

The Dusky Moorhen found in New Guinea is smaller (9.8 to 12.5 inches) than the Australian race (13.75 to 15.75 inches). The adult Dusky Moorhen is mainly dark gray-black, with a browner tinge to the upper parts. It has a red frontal shield and yellow-tipped red bill like its Eurasian relative, but lacks the white flank line shown by Common Moorhen, and has orange-yellow rather than yellow legs. Sexes are similar, but young birds have mid-brown plumage.

This species builds a bulky nest at the water’s edge, and lays 5-18 whitish eggs. It is territorial when breeding, but otherwise gregarious. It is a noisy bird.

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Dusky Moorhen


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