Common Gallinule, Gallinula galeata


Common Moorhen
Above, a bright red bill and forehead shield, plus the red at the top of the bare skin of the legs, mark this bird as in breeding plumage. Below, two more images, probably of the same bird, showing breeding plumage.

"Common Gallinule" is the common American name adopted in 2011 for a newly recognized species, formerly the New-World group of Common Moorhen, Gallinula chloropus. The Old-World group retained the original scientific and common names in the split. (G. chloropus was and presumably still will be called simply "Moorhen" in Britain.) The two newly-separated species are distinguished by very different vocalizations, and the broader forehead shield of the Common Gallinule. See the separate page for Common Moorhen, with photographs from the United Kingdom and Hawaii.


Common Gallinule


Common Gallinule


Common Gallinule
Above and the next two images below, photos also from Shoreline Park in Mountain View showing Common Gallinules in their variably duller non-breeding plumage.


Common Gallinule


Common Gallinule


Common Gallinule
The Common Gallinules found in Florida, one shown above, are in my experience more confiding and accessible than the relatively shy birds found in California. Note the bright breeding-season red of the bill and shield, in Florida already present in early December. The shield is broader on the Florida birds.
 


Common Gallinule
A juvenile Common Gallinule from the SF Bay Area.