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Common Gallinule Gallinula galeata



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Photos from this Account


Medium-sized marsh bird with long yellow legs and toes. Adults are charcoal gray with a bright red bill and forehead shield. Note white stripe down the side and white outer tail feathers.


Immature birds are dark gray below with a gray head and neck; they are dark brown above. They lack the adult's red bill and shield, but they still have a white stripe down the side that helps identify them.


Juveniles are pale brown overall, with paler underparts and a dull greenish bill and shield. Note the characteristic white stripe down the side.

Adult with juveniles

Chicks are covered in black down and are capable of swimming within one day of hatching.


Long toes make it possible to walk on soft mud and floating vegetation. Often walks with its tail cocked up, showing the white sides.


Despite not having webbed feet, it swims with ease.


Medium-sized marsh bird that appears dark overall. The red bill, white flank stripe, and white stripe on the tail separate it from similar species.

Adult with American Coot

Smaller than an American Coot (right) with a bright red bill and shield.


Found in freshwater or brackish marshes with tall emergent vegetation, ponds, canals, and rice fields.

Recommended Citation

Common Gallinule (Gallinula galeata), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: