Dusky Moorhen (Gallinula tenebrosa)

One bird arrived here about three weeks ago, very shy, keeping to the reedy and overhung edges of the dam closest to the house. This dam is currently thick with Red Azolla, an attractive food supply for these water birds. We realised it was there because of its loud calls, a harsh sharp shriek. It was very difficult to photograph!

near the lotus, early morning

Then we thought we saw another bird, perhaps all that calling had attracted a mate? The second bird was more courageous, venturing into the open areas of the dam.

Dusky Moorhen amongst Red Azolla

Within a few days they seem to have begun nesting activity, choosing a corner thick with reeds and waterlilies. One bird made much of pulling some reeds and papyrus down, displaying on the proposed site … the other came to look.

choosing a nest site? old lotus pods float in foreground

And did they agree? It seemed cordial!

Two Dusky Moorhens at the reedy edge of the dam, white water lilies in front

I will keep you posted of further developments with the Moorhens, or Coots as we tend to call them.

14 thoughts on “Dusky Moorhen (Gallinula tenebrosa)

  1. Do I call you Nanina or Christine? Either way, I want to tell you that since following you, I have been so moved by the beautiful photos of your environment that it makes me want to live where you live! Your view is like window I can open and take a deep breath!

    • Hello Barb, Call me Christine! So glad you are enjoying this open window onto life here with the beach and the dams, it is adjacent to a National Park, so very rich in wildlife 🙂 Thank you for your lovely comments, you are so encouraging.

  2. I just read about Dusky Moorhens and compared them to our American Coots. They are almost identical in size but yours are more colorful. Thanks for identifying the lotus seed pods. Before I read the caption, I was trying to figure out what they were. They looked like metal bells with a rich, aged patina.

    I learned that Moorhens build nests at water’s edge and lay 12-18 eggs. You might have quite a photographic opportunity this spring!

    • we are watching for any more nesting activity, fingers crossed …although in another dam long ago we had a nest with young that we had to rescue repeatedly …perhaps inexperienced parents .. the lotus pods are beautiful and they do look metallic at this stage …this wet cool weather is causing and abundant summer with very fat black snakes, trees burgeoning with fruit, vegetables galore, and plenty of birds. Did I tell you that I lived in Detroit in 1967? It was an eventful time to be there, I dont remember very much of it.

      • Yes, it was eventful year for Detroit, to say the least. I was attending Wayne State University during the school year and worked at a camp during the summer when the riot started. I’d call my parents at night to hear of the fires surrounding them. They lived within a couple of miles of the epicenter of it.

        Wow. You and I probably passed each other on a Detroit street one afternoon … Maybe we were in Hudson’s shopping or having a hot fudge sundae at Sanders. It’s a nice thought, don’t you think?

        • i agree, funny now to be revisiting those memories, quite shocking to think of the David Whitney building empty, it speaks volumes about the renewal needed in Detroit … it can only come from the people I think … the whole world needs renewing!

  3. They are usually very shy, I’ve never managed to get a good photo of them. I can never remember which are Moorhens and which are Coots, one has red bits the other white so I call them both Moorcoots! Beautiful 🙂

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