La common hen (Gallinula chloropus) or moorhen is a ave gruiforme y aerial animal small in size and known for its black and often red plumage and pointed bill. It is especially common in the Old World.

Common hen

Common hen


There are five subspecies of redfish:

  • Gallinula chloropus chloropus
  • Gallinula chloropus guami
  • Gallinula chloropus meridionalis
  • Gallinula chloropus orientalis
  • Gallinula chloropus pyrrhorrhoa


The common redfish is a small bird that can measure between 30 - 38 cm in length and 50 - 62 cm in wingspan. Its weight ranges between 192 - 500 g. It is an unmistakable species in its environment for its dark plumage, white tail, yellow legs and red frontal shield.

Young individuals are brown in color and lack the red shield. The frontal shield has a fairly straight cap and is less wide towards the bill, giving a marked indentation to the rear margin of the red area. In other species, the frontal shield has a rounded top and quite parallel sides; the lower margin of the red featherless area is a smooth wavy line.


They are birds that spend their lives in the water, and for that reason they have undergone a series of adaptations such as the toes that are webbed to help them swim and walk along the slippery shores where they live.

They live in society and spend their lives in groups known as flocks.

Chick of the Common Redfish

Chick of the Common Redfish


Redfish inhabits the dark moorlands of Australia, the lesser moorland of Africa, and the spotted-flanked moorland of South America. It is also possible to see it around swamps, ponds, canals and other wetlands where there is food and numerous vegetables.

In the species that inhabit regions where winter freezes the water, such as in Eastern Europe, they migrate to areas where the climate is warmer.


Redfish can be found all over the world with the exception of polar regions and rainforests.


The common redfish is an omnivorous bird and its diet consists essentially of invertebrates such as insects and water spiders. They also eat small rodents and lizards, as well as berries, fruits, and seeds.


The common redfish due to its small size has a large number of predators but they vary depending on where it lives. The most common predators are foxes, Dogs, coyotes, raccoons and dingo of the moors. But in other areas they can have large reptiles and wildcats.


Redfish establishes territories during the breeding season that begins in spring, between mid-March and mid-May in the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. The female builds the nest on the ground where there is dense vegetation to protect the eggs, where she lays an average of about seven eggs, although the number will depend on the species. In this species the nests can be reused by other females.

Incubation lasts about three weeks and both parents incubate and feed the young. The chicks will remain in the nest for 40 - 50 days, after this time they will abandon it. They reach sexual maturity quickly, being able to breed for the first time the following spring.

In the event that the young are attacked during their development, they can cling to the body of one of their parents so that they fly to a safe place.

Common redfish hatching

Common redfish hatching

State of conservation

The common redfish is a very adaptable animal with great ease of reproduction. Although it has suffered a great loss of its habitat and contamination of its waters, it has managed to survive in most areas. Therefore, it is considered as a species of Least Concern by the IUCN.

However, small populations such as the subspecies G. c. orientalis from Palau Island are prone to extinction.

List of other interesting animals