Gallinule is a common name for some marsh-dwelling birds of the rail family (Rallidae), now also known as moorhens.
Gallinule is a common name for some marsh-dwelling birds of the rail family (Rallidae), now also known as moorhens. Three genera, with around 14 species, occur worldwide. Several island-dwelling species are becoming rare.
The common moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) breeds in a small area in southeastern Ontario and nearby Québec and has occurred in Manitoba. The purple gallinule (Porphyrula martinica) breeds in the southeastern US southward; its occurrence in eastern Canada is only casual.
The common moorhen resembles the coot but has a bright red bill and forehead, green legs and lobeless toes. Like the coot, it pumps its head when swimming.
Like coots, gallinules are often colonial; their nests are similar. The gallinule lays 9-12 buff eggs spotted with dark brown. Common moorhens often betray their presence by loud, henlike cackling.