Gallinula chloropus (Linn.), Syst Nat. i. p. 258 (1766) ; Naum. ix. p. 587, Taf. 240 ; Gould, B. of E. iv. pl. 342 ; id. B. of Gt. Brit. iv. pl. 85 ; Dresser, vii. p. 313, pl. 503 ; Hewitson, ii. p. 378, pl. cvii. fig. 1 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. Br. Mus. xxiii. p. 169 ; Tacz. F. O. Sib. O. p. 1000 ; Blanf. F. Brit. Ind. Birds, iv. p. 175 ; Saunders, p. 517 ; Lilford, iv. p. 141, pl. 61.
Poule d’eau, French ; Gallinha de agua, Portug. ; Polla de agua, Span. ; Gallinella d’acqua, Ital. ; Wasserhuhn, German ; Waterhoentje, Dutch ; Gronbenet-Rorhona, Dan. ; Gronbenet-Vandhone, Norweg. ; Rorhona, Swed. ; Liejukana, Finn. ; Balotnaja-Kuritza, Russ. ; Jal-Murghi, Hindu. ; Ban, Jap.
Male ad, (England). Head, neck, and fore back deep greyish slate-blue ; under parts paler and greyer ; upper parts deep olivaceous brown ; quills and tail dark brown ; edge of wing and margin of first quill white ; flanks marked with long white stripes ; lower abdomen greyish white ; under tail-coverts white with a median black tuft ; base of bill and frontal plate bright red, the front of bill yellow ; legs dull green with a red garter ; iris red. Culmen 1.34, wing 6.5, tail 2.85, tarsus 1.85 incii. Sexes alike.
Hab. Europe generally, north to Central Scandinavia, and has been obtained as far north as the North Cape ; the whole of Africa ; Asia, east to Japan, south throughout India and Ceylon, north to Lake Baikal.
Frequents ponds, river-banks, and marshes where the aquatic vegetation is dense, and where it can find good shelter. It swims and dives with ease, and on land runs swiftly. Its call note is a loud kirrik crek rek rek, most often to be heard in the evening. Its food consists of aquatic insects, worms, tender shoots, and seeds of aquatic plants, &c. The nest is placed amongst aquatic herbage, sometimes, though rarely, on a tree, and is a bulky structure of dried weeds and aquatic plants, lined with finer materials. The eggs, 6 to 9 or 10 in number, are rusty clay-yellow with violet-grey shell-markings and reddish brown surface spots and blotches, and measure about 1.63 by 1.21. Two or sometimes three broods are roared in the same season. In America our Moorhen is replaced by a closely allied form, G. galeata (Licht.).
998. Gallinula chloropus