Bird of the week – Dusky Moorhen Gallinula tenebrosa

The Dusky Moorhen is a water bird. It is usually seen swimming in freshwater swamps. Its call is a loud crow or squawk.

What the Dusky Moorhen looks like

The Dusky Moorhen is 34-38 cm in length. It is brown-black to grey-black with white on each side of its tail. It has a red beak with a red frontal shield and a yellow tip. It has brown eyes, red knees and green feet.

Where the Dusky Moorhen lives

The Dusky Moorhen lives in eastern and south-western Australia. It also lives in Indonesia and New Guinea. It is found in swamps and lakes with reeds around the edges.

What the Dusky Moorhen eats

The Dusky Moorhen eats land plants and water plants. It also eats insects, fishes and worms. It puts its head under water to search for water plants.

How the Dusky Moorhen breeds

Dusky Moorhens breed in groups and defend their territories.

The adults mostly breed from late winter to early autumn. The females let the males know when they are ready to mate.

Each female lays five to eight eggs in a nest of water plants in a swamp. The adults take turns to sit on the eggs to keep them warm.

The chicks hatch after two and a half to three and a half weeks.

The chicks are cared for by their parents for four weeks, then partly fed for another five weeks. They grow into breeding adults.


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