Moorhen photo and description of the bird, moorhen chick, listen to the voice

Moorhen is very reminiscent of an ordinary chicken and that’s exactly what a swamp chicken is usually called. A small, about the size of a dove, the bird belongs to the shepherd family and is very widespread throughout almost the entire Earth (excluding Australia and Antarctica).

It is she who can often be found in a wide variety of reservoirs the main thing is that there would be a swampy shore. As a rule, it is distinguished by secrecy, and it is very difficult to meet it “live”. And this is despite the massive distribution in almost every corner of the planet.


In a scientific way, the moorhen is called the “green-legged chicken” and, indeed, outwardly it is very similar to the usual domestic chickens. By itself, the bird grows to be of medium size weighing up to a maximum of 500 grams, and usually up to 30 cm long approximately like a good partridge. Usually they nest in pairs, avoiding the company of other birds, carefully guarding the territory. But this does not apply to the winter cold at this time the moorhens gather together (sometimes even up to 50 pairs). And sometimes birds can even fight among themselves. At the same time, the territory of the couple cannot be called extensive it is limited to 12 meters in diameter.

We listen to the voice of the moorhen


The plumage of the moorhen is not bright, rather, brown or gray with an unusual blue tint in the neck. White strips compressed from the sides of the body, and the white-black is painted with the subsidiary. By winter, the back and head of the moorhen are filled with olive color.

Photographer Lyudmila Beckman

The most remarkable thing about this species is that there is a bright red zone in the form of a plaque on the head of the moorhen, and the legs and beak of the bird are also painted orange-red. Moreover, the legs are not equipped with membranes familiar to all waterfowl but long and hardy limbs are perfectly adapted for walking in swamps and swamps. They are flexible and equipped with long fingers equipped with sharp claws. It also has a short, triangular beak.

The moorhen usually rarely gives voice, but is quite capable of impressing the listener with her harsh and loud voice. Females and males of this species almost do not differ from each other, except that the males are slightly larger.

But the most interesting thing is the unique mating games of these birds. The thing is that their males are not fighting for the attention of females, but, on the contrary, it is the weaker sex that aggressively defends their interests and not only with the help of threatening poses.

During the year, moorhens start nesting twice, laying up to 15 small brown eggs. The duration of incubation is up to three weeks, and usually both parents do this. Usually, chicks begin to fly by the age of three months, and they receive adult coloring only by the year.


This type of waterfowl can be found almost anywhere where there are water bodies. Unless in cold lands they prefer not to stay for a long time and migrate, fly over for the winter.

Living in many reservoirs, the moorhen needs to have a section of a reservoir with open water, as well as a coastal part with dense vegetation of various types reeds, duckweed, sedge, willow, etc. Sometimes pits, beams, and ravines are suitable for these chickens.

Usually it is fresh water (occasionally slightly brackish) with many plants, regardless of its size (both large and small reservoirs suit moorhen equally).

During the day, birds of this species prefer to lie in thickets, and only at dusk appear in open areas. Those birds that live in Europe choose the lowland landscapes (for example, above 800 meters above sea level it is difficult to meet in this territory).

But this does not mean that they do not like height for example, in Nepal they nest without problems nesting above 4,500 meters above sea level.

As a rule, this species of birds are characterized by sedentary only a few of them are migratory. However, the order of their migration was poorly studied despite the widespread spread of the type.


Kamysnitsa is very unpretentious in nutrition and can easily eat almost any food both plant and animal. Typically, the bird wanders through the water in search of food, studying the shore, plants, sometimes plunging into the water with his head and even diving.

True, the hen dives reluctantly especially at a depth where she almost does not swim, just holding herself upright, holding on to nearby plants with her paws.

On the water, the moorhen moves with great grace, maneuvering dexterously and well, changing direction very quickly. And while swimming, it funny shakes both its head and tail.

Photographer Lyudmila Beckman

On land, the bird also eats very diversely mainly coastal grasses (seeds) and berries, and their diet also includes insects, plant shoots, cereals, algae, various invertebrates, larvae, worms, molluscs and tadpoles.

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