General Description

Body dark grey to black with head and underparts paler grey to white. Forehead (face shield) red, and bill red with a yellow tip. Legs green-grey to green-red. Body up to 40 cm long. Dusky Moorhens look quite similar to Eurasian Coots (Fulica atra), which have a white bill and head shield rather than the red and yellow of the Dusky Moorhen. The Purple Moorhen (Porphyrio porphyrio), is another similar species, but it is larger and distinctively purple rather than black. Call a trumpet-like tone.


Dusky Moorhens eat various food items, including weed and molluscs. They form groups during the breeding season. They make platform nests from water plants such as reeds, either floating in open water or among reeds. The females lay between six and ten eggs, with more than one female within the group using the same nest, and all members of the group participating in incubating the eggs and feeding the young.


Eastern and south-western mainland Australia and Tasmania.


Mainly wetland areas.

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