Saturday, 23 August 2014

British Birds: Moorhens

Pictures of Birds: The Moorhen

Adult Moorhen feeding chick
Adult Moorhen feeding chick
photography by annmackiemiller
If you are interested in British birds, this photo journal by wildlife photographer AnnMackieMiller will delight you. Included are some spectacular original bird pictures of moorhens and chicks - so ugly they are cute. The avid birder will also find plenty of interesting facts about this feisty little bird. It is one of my favourite wildfowl so you will find me posting about them again and again.

Images: By AnnMackieMiller copyright 2011. Please do not copy them. I use low resolution images to discourage theft but if you would like high resolution copies please contact me.

"The moorhen is a commonly seen bird along British waterways, rivers and lakes and is much the same as the American gallinule. This photo journal contains some of my favourite chick pictures. It started off as a top10 - but who can resist those cute bundles? Included you will also find some information about moorhens that I hope you find interesting. You, the reader, is who make the hard work worthwhile so be sure to stop by to say Hi.

Adult Moorhen 
"The moorhen is easily identified by the bright red shield on its forehead and bill with a yellow tip. It bobs it's head forward in an endearing way as it walks and swims and it is a great climber. It is a small plump bird with, what looks like black and grey plumage, but on closer inspection is really greyish brown. Adults have long yellow legs and feet, ideal for traversing reeds and boggy ground. The chicks are little bundles of black fluff on stilts. During their first few weeks they have characteristic bug-eyed look with a tiny red beak with a yellow splash. When you see them first on the edges of the nest they almost look like furry spiders. Both adults brood and feed the chicks until they are around 6 weeks old.
adult moorhen on nest
nesting moorhen - they like to be well hidden in bushes or trees - except for my Micklethwaite Moorhens

moorhen in nest
Micklethwaite Moorhens nesting in the full view

I am lucky enough to be able to follow one particular family on the canal near my home, nesting in full view of anyone walking along the canal tow path. It makes bird watching accessible to many who might never have considered it before. When I am down there with my camera people stop to ask what I am watching and it is a joy to see their delight when I point out new chicks they might never have noticed otherwise. This year, 2011 they have had 3 broods, the juveniles of the brood before helping to care for the new chicks as they arrive. I hope you enjoy sharing these bird pictures.

moorhen chick
Moorhen chick 

Moorhen Facts

Did you know?

  • Order: Gruiformes
  • Family: Rallidae
  • Species: Gullinula chloropus
  • Common Name: Moorhen
  • Length: 12-14 inches
  • Wingspan: 20-22 inches
  • Weight: 9-15 ounces
  • Lifespan: up to 15 years

"No! I am NOT waiting for a bus!"

This little guy looked so comical standing on the edge of the canal I just had to snap the shot.

Notecard: Moorhen Chick card
Notecard: Moorhen Chick by annmackiemiller
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Moorhen facts

Did you know?

  • Moorhens fight with their feet.
  • The red shield on their foreheads stands out when they are in aggressive mode.
adult moorhen with two chick
Adult with two hungry chicks 

Running - they can get up quite a speed on land especially when they are chasing off threats to their chicks. 

adult moorhens feeding chicks
I spotted these cuties high on the bank and saw they had climbed the tyre to get there.
Shows you how handy those big feet are right from the start.

Moorhen facts

  • The juvenile moorhens from an earlier brood will help care for the next brood.
  • Moorhen chicks will stay only 1 day in the nest before venturing out with the adults.
  • Both parents feed, groom and protect the chicks.

"At home with Mum"

Notecard: Moorhen & Chick card

Moorhens are very loving birds taking tender care of their young. This is a delightful picture of a day old chick with an adult at the nest. This particular little fella kept falling into the water as he explored his new world but he had no problem getting back up to the nest with those big feet. His little stub wings are so cute!

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