The “Common Gallinule” North American Marsh Birds

exposureEvery moment spent in nature has its amazing opportunity to film beauty. This particular day went to visit Green Cay Wetlands. Its the county’s newest nature center that overlooks 100 acres of constructed wetland. Many appear to visit and just walk briskly around the well constructed, 1.5 miles of child and adult proof wooded planks!

Wakodahatchee 1 13a 033 It was during one of these jaunts I heard a ruckus of noise. “Cluk chatter” and there to my right I spied a pool of Coots. American Coots (Fulica americanna) have webbed feet.

11-11-11 051Did you know during breeding season, they form breeding groups of two to seven birds, with all members defending territory, building nests and looking after young?!  The shallow platform nests are made of reeds and other water plants over water, among reeds or on floating platforms in open water. Two or more females will lay their eggs in the same nest and all members of the group help to incubate the eggs and feed the young!

I spied one such family of Gallinule’s and also a Heron looming in the weeds. He was patiently waiting for one of these lil Moorhens, (oops i mean common gallinule, they changed the names again)  to swim nearby. They easily become a meal to the larger species so it makes sense why these breeding groups formed and big feet! They can move fast, those long toes make it possible to walk on soft mud and floating vegetation.

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Below is what I saw during this mid morning jaunt. Precious feeding of mamma to chick.

About Brenda

"Brenda adores the birds. She is enchanted with their grace, their beauty. It was the birds and being out among them that gave her the peace she so needed and forged a new passion She uses a camera to capture those incredible moments, to savor them and share them with others. For her the camera was freedom. Brenda spent her life healing others, and dealing with incredible pain and despair. The world of birds and nature and photography was what she turned to in order to see the beautiful side of the world" -Eric Curtis Cummings
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5 Responses to The “Common Gallinule” North American Marsh Birds

  1. Brenda, love your posts.I thought I saw a common gallinule but it was a Purple Gallinule. I never saw one out in the open. They hide in the reeds here.

  2. Kathy says:

    Amazing pictures. I always love your posts. I got a new camera for Christmas and just wish I knew where to go to take wonderful pictures. LOL


  3. idebenone says:

    I never saw this species dive for food, and the only fish that I ever found in the many that I have opened, was very small minnows or fry, which I think they catch along the shallow edges of the water. Indeed, unless when wounded, our Coot feels great reluctance at immersing its body in the water; at all events, it has not the quickness of any of the diving birds, and rarely escapes the shot of a common flint gun while attempting to get away. When wounded it dives to some distance, but as soon as it reaches the grass or reeds, it contents itself with lying flat on the water, and thus swimming to the nearest shore, on reaching which it at once run, off and hides in the first convenient place. When undisturbed, it feeds both by day and by night, and as often on land as on the water. Its food consists of seeds, grasses, small fishes, worms, snails, and insects, and along with these it introduces into its stomach a good quantity of rather coarse sand. The principal breeding places of this species are yet unknown to me. At Charleston it was supposed that it breeds in the neighbourhood of that city; but my friend BACHMAN while searching for their nests at the proper season, saw that the Common Gallinule was in fact the bird that had been taken for the Coot. My learned friend NUTTALL mentions that a pair had bred in Fresh Pond near Boston, and that he there saw parents and young. Some travelling lumberers assured me that the Coot breeds in numbers in the lakes lying between Mars Hill in Maine and the St. Lawrence river; but I can find no authentic accounts of its nest having been found in any part of the United States, although some probably breed on the borders of our northern lakes.

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