The Rail family of birds includes moorhens, gallinules and coots. All are marsh birds that have a chicken-like appearance but act more like wading birds and ducks. All eat a variety of seeds, and mostly aquatic insects (some land based worms and grubs too).
The Common Moorhen is black for the males and brown for the hens with a red fleshy area over their beak. The Purple Gallinule is a flashy turquoise with purple accents and the red fleshy area over the beak. The Common Coot is black with the white fleshy area over the beak. All behave fairly the same. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture.
Coots, Common Moorhens, and Purple Gallinules are seen in The Villages, FL on occasion and mostly in the shallow marshes or prairies. I often spot these birds at the Sharon Rose Wiechens Nature Preserve. The Coots are migratory and usually seen in the Winter here and are often on Lake Sumter in large numbers. The Moorhens and Purple Gallinules are year around resident birds with the Moorhens being a lot more commonly seen (pardon the pun).
The Coots are a charcoal black with a white face for both of the sexes. The Purple Gallinules are a vivid blue and purple with a yellow blue and red bill. The Common Gallinule or Moorhen, resembles the coot but has a red face and the females are brown with the red face. The Coots, Common Moorhens and Purple Gallinules all are Rails. These birds have a loud cry when alarmed and also sound a bit like a chicken clucking when in their normal communication mode. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture.
Male Common Moorhen or Common Gallinule
Hen Common Gallinule or Moorhen
Coots with a Moorhen
While I was at the shopping center ponds the other day, I also spotted turtles, a couple of alligators, and an Anhinga perched up in a small tree right next to the shore of the pond. These were in addition to the Great Egret, pair of Hooded Mergansers, a Common Moorhen (red flesh over its bill), and the Common Coot. I ran out of room on Friday’s post, so I’ll show photos of these animals today. Please click on the thumbnail image to see a slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!