Jump to content
Whatbird Community

Help with Gallinule/Moorhen ID

Recommended Posts

Hi all,

Saw these birds at the Charleston Slough in Palo Alto CA, at about 11:30 am today.  I think it’s a Common Moorhen but they are rare for the area so I wanted to confirm. 

Thanks in advance.





Edited by Pro2typer
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A few points to remember when separating Gallinules and Moorhens;

  • Adults with mostly yellow lower mandibles might safely be identified as Eurasian Moorhen.
  • Adults (bright red bills) with limited yellow on the lower mandible are likely American Gallinules.
  • A large and flat-topped shield is an indication of American Gallinule.
  • Birds with bright red eyes are likely Eurasian Moorhen.
  • Seriously, the easiest way to identify a silent or subadult Moorhen or Gallinule might be to find a dropped feather and send it away for DNA testing.

This is just the beginning of an effort to figure out how to identify these birds. There is still lots to be learned and hopefully someday a better understanding of variation in Moorhens and Gallinules will allow them to be identified with some more confidence, and maybe even be able to identify them in juvenal plumage. 

Edited by Bird-Boys
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...