Gallinula tenebrosa

Description

The Dusky Moorhen is a medium-sized, dark navy-black water bird with a white undertail. It has a red bill with a yellow tip and a red facial shield. Young birds are much duller and browner than adults, with a greenish bill and face shield.

Distribution

The Dusky Moorhen is widespread in eastern and south-western Australia, ranging from Cooktown to eastern South Australia and in the southern corner of Western Australia.

Lifespan

Dusky Moorhens don't have a very long lifespan and generally live between 1 and 3 years.

Size

The Dusky Moorhen measures between 35 - 40 centimetres in length.

Diet

The Dusky Moorhen feeds in the water and on land on algae, water plants and grasses, as well as seeds, fruits, mollusks and other invertebrates.

Habitat

The Dusky Moorhen are found in wetlands, including swamps, rivers, and artificial waterways. It prefers open water and water margins with reeds, rushes and waterlilies, but may be found on grasses close to water such as parks, pastures and lawns.

Breeding

Breeding season takes place between August to March.

During that time, the Dusky Moorhen forms breeding groups of two to seven birds, with all members defending territory, building nests and looking after young.

Two or more females will lay their eggs in the same nest and all members of the group help to incubate the eggs and feed the young.

Each female will produce approximately 11 eggs.