Common Moorhen, Gallinula chloropus


12/31/09, Clissold Park, Hackney,
              London, UK
When I photographed the birds shown above and below on a Christmas visit to London in 2009, they were considered to belong to a world-wide species, Gallinula chloropus, with the American common name of Common Moorhen. In 2011, the American Ornithological Union split the world-wide species in two, with the Old-World birds retaining the original common and scientific names, while the New-World birds were given the scientific name Gallinula galeata and the common name Common Gallinule, adopted from an earlier American name for the larger species. 


12/28/09, Clissold Park, Hackney,
              London, UK
It was a cold Christmas season in London in 2009, and the pond at Clissold Park in Hackney, where I photographed the birds shown above and below, was frozen over for most of the time I was there -- hence these pictures of Common Moorhen on ice.


12/28/09, Clissold Park, Hackney,
              London, UK



Common Moorhen
Here's a London Common Moorhen swimming in summer, July 2013, at the gardens of Kenwood House on Hampstead Heath.
Common Moorhen
The endangered endemic Hawaiian subspecies shown above, ‘alae ‘ula in Hawaiian, Gallinula chloropus sandvicensis in science-ese, is distinguished by the very broad red shield on the forehead, and the breeding-season red extending further down the legs. Maintaining its fragile hold on existence, it is a possible candidate for recognition as a separate species. Meanwhile, I believe it would presently be classified as part of the Old-World species Gallinula chloropus, or Common Moorhen, as would the other Pacific Island subspecies of the formerly world-wide species that bore those names.