Gallinula chloropus, Lin.
905. :- Jerdon's Birds of India, Vol. II, p. 718 ; Butler, Guzerat; Stray Feathers, Vol. IV, p. 20 ; Deccan, Stray Feathers, Vol. IX, p. 431 ; Murray's Vertebrate Zoology of Sind, p. 262 ; Swinhoe and Barnes, Central India; Ibis, 1885, p. 135,
THE WATER HEN.
Length, 12 to 13 ; expanse, 20; wing, 6.75 ; tail, 2.95 ; tarsus, 1.8 ; bill from gape, 1.1
Bill red, yellow at tip ; irides red ; legs pale olive-green, with an orange garter above the knee.
Head dusky-grey ; the upper plumage deep olive ; the wing dusky; edge of the wing white ; throat, neck, and breast, dusky-grey, the rest of the under parts deep bluish-grey ; the feathers edged with whitish, and the flanks with large streaks of white ; under tail-coverts pure white, with a few black feathers intermixed.
The young has the head and under parts olivaceous-brown ; the throat, neck in front, and a spot beneath the eye whitish ; breast and beneath pale grey.
The Water Hen is a common permanent resident throughout the district, breeding from July to September. The nest varies much according to the situation in which it is placed; when built in low bushes (always overhanging water), the nest is neat and carefully made, but when placed among reeds and flags, it is a much less pretentious affair. The eggs, seven to nine in number, are moderately broad ovals in shape, and in color they are pale stone or drab, more or less thickly sprinkled with spots, streaks and blotches of red, or reddish-brown. The larger markings are frequently surrounded by a reddish halo.
They measure 162 inches in length by 121 inches in breadth.