Moorhen or water hen, marsh hen: description

Few of us have an idea about a bird, like a moorhen. It is also called dropsy or swamp hen. It has a small size, not more of a dove.

This small elegant bird with long legs and a beautiful color that inhabits almost all of Europe.

Moorhen or water hen: description

Marsh hen lives in the damp grass. It’s fairly rare to find that the bird is willing to fly. Rises in height it occasionally. Color it looks plain from afar, but if you look closely, you can see the unique plumage. Swamp hens are being hunted, especially in autumn when they gain weight to the cold weather.

The swamp hen is a common inhabitant of ponds with running water or with stagnant water. And you can also find it in swampy and overgrown banks. The bird leads a secretive way of life regardless of the fact that it can often be found in the wild. In European countries birds are used to human presence.

Small water hen reaches a length of thirty-one centimeters. At the same time its weight is less than half the weight of chicken and is no more than a pound. The plumage of the birds and bright blue with distinct narrow white bands on both sides of the wings. The abdomen is usually bright. Occasionally you can find birds with olive and brown hues. The wings of the birds are dark and gray.

Molting of birds can be identified by the tips of feathers and breast. They become white. Some parts of the body are changed in their hue and become lumpy. Molting of birds can take place twice a year. It falls in winter and autumn.

To notice externally, the bird is difficult, because water chicken small size. The beak is short has a bright red hue. At the tip are yellow and green. Forehead has a few bright dark red spots. Feet of birds are well adapted to the land where she lives. It is strong and long legs. The claws have a swamp chicken is a little bent. The distinctive features of birds is attributed the lack of webbing between the toes.

Moorhen any sex not much stands out. And the youngsters look a little different. Their plumage has a bright pastel colors. While the feathers; the chin, throat and breast are gray in color. They undertail are white. The spot on the forehead of red color is completely absent. A young moorhen ends to form to fly from his birth.

Moorhen – water chicken: feature

Moorhen refers to the silent birds. Occasionally it may emit a sharp and loud sounds. The sound of moorhens are often similar to the Twitter timeline. They make a curt, loud and sharp sounds.

Hunters distinguish a bird by its behavior.

  1. Time of concentration or alertness, somewhere in the distance she could barely make a sound “Chur-R-R”.
  2. In the spring and at night the moorhen can quickly shout “crest”.
  3. During the flight the bird emits a small and together with the monophonic sound.

Flies moorhen and rarely without a running start. It flies only in a straight line and at a fast pace. Hunters emit a moorhen in the manner of flight. She pulls the neck forward and puts legs far back. She lands in a vertical position. Directly to the branch she sits down. She pretty quickly can move among the dense branches. Sometimes able to fly into the deep timber.

Despite the fact that the moorhen lives in the heart of the swamp, the water she doesn’t like. Most of the time the bird can spend on land in close proximity to thickets. On land it is capable of promptly and at a fast pace to move. Feature of bird it is worth noting its movement on bent legs.

To date, the number of moorhens large. It is difficult to count how many birds to stay around the world. Mostly they can be found in the Crimea. And she lives in Ukraine, and Transcaucasia. Quite often it can be observed in Central Asia. Almost throughout Central Europe moorhen lives in a swamp. In addition, in our country, in the lower Volga is also found swamp chicken.

Breeding moorhens

Maturity in water birds occurs not earlier than one year. Regardless of the density of habitat it is capable of nesting pairs. In protected areas on a small pond, can inhabit only one pair of Kamyshin. For a large pond can accommodate several couples. Nests of moorhens have a distance of eighty metres from each other.

A nest of the marsh hen is several times greater than the bird itself. The diameter of the nests can be up to thirty inches in late summer. It was at this time the Chicks grow up and trample down your house. The depth of such a dwelling is four centimeters. While the height of the nest about fifteen inches.

Their nests of marsh birds build only one material. Quite often water birds use the leaves of reeds from last year. Rarely build nests of reeds. Can mix the leaves with the found roots. Quite rare to find a moorhen, which builds its nest of sedge. Typically, the material for the nest depends on the habitat of birds.

The nest is a loose construction. Tray feathered vymeshivaem raw thin leaves. They stick together after drying and have a smooth surface. Depending on the nature of the terrain, the Jack must be placed on the stem of a reed or cane. In rare cases, it can be submerged stump. Water depth can range from fifteen centimeters to one meter. To the nest the bird may be close by swimming.

Moorhens inhabiting kamyshnikova or reed beds, try to build their homes near the water surface. Their houses rise above the water to thirty-five centimeters. If the bird lives in a large river, then it breeds only in the plant area. Occasionally it can build a house at the height of three meters. But make sure the condition around the water surface. Like other birds, the chicken lays eggs in water. In one clutch it can reproduce up to twelve units. However, this number may grant in certain years of his life.

Eggs water chicken are small. The shell they have a matte color and a beautiful smooth Shine. The background they have is only a pale, dirty green. In rare cases, may have yellow or rusty tinge. Quite often in between coloring there are clear transitions. In some cases it is possible to meet large or small spots on the egg surface. They can be light, dark, brown or grey.

Have a brood of moorhens passes twice and only in the summer. The first time the moorhen lays eggs in the spring. It may be April or may. The second time, the bird may lay eggs in the summer months – June or July. Once females lay eggs in the first or second clutch males serves your voice. This sound can only be heard at the same time. The male will scream at dawn or night. The male informs all about the new offspring in the Bush or in the air flying from place to place. Nests with eggs can be seen only during the spring and summer period.

The Chicks hatch only in the late spring or mid-summer. As a rule, hatching offspring on average occurs in June. The eggs are laid by the female in a day. And the incubating bird occurs only at the end of laying. In this case, the hatching is only concerned with the female. The male can sit on the eggs only a short time. Nests protected only by a pair. The whole process lasts for less than a month.

Fledglings appear, as a rule, during the day, and there are times when after a few hours. The average laying may be no more than six eggs. In some other cases, the withdrawal of the Chicks can last for six days. While the female do not disturb, otherwise it will fly away to nest elsewhere. Worried the bird might carry on his paws, small testicles. But this can happen only if the nest is placed above the height of the high and the female is able to rise into the air from the nest.

The Chicks immediately after birth know how to swim and dive. Chicks from the first brood may leave parents before. As soon as they grow to one hundred and eighty grams, they run away in the reeds. There they are going in the nest during the holidays. The second conclusion goes later.

Molting moorhens

Molting chicken from water occurs at the age of one year. Typically, this period falls in the middle of July or autumn. Young birds are changing their feathers. The period of their change of plumage occurs at the end of summer, beginning of winter.

Changing outfits at the birds is as follows.

  • down;
  • breeding or final.

Adult birds change feathers during the breeding season. Most of the females molt from the second half of the summer. During the change of feathers, moorhen resets the major and minor plumage. Be sure to drop feathers. Thus, water chicken loses the ability to fly for some time. Adults to the cold time of year will have a fresh plumage.

Food moorhens

Many small birds feed exclusively on animal or vegetable food. She is ready to eat various water or ground insects. She likes spiders, molluscs or larvae. Autopsies of the birds showed that at the bottom of the stomach are fine shells of snails, insects and even coils. The majority of the moorhen examines the deep areas of the reservoirs and there may find different spiders.

She especially likes to snatch from the stem of the cane spiders and beetles. In some cases, she can completely immerse his head in water and get out insects. From plant foods moorhen can have fresh berries or shoots that grow near its habitat.

The size and structure of moorhens

The body of moorhens, like most birds of this species is compressed from both sides. She has a powerful beak of medium length. Her legs are massive and she has long fingers. And she claws weakly curved. Membranes between the fingers of the little birds difficult to see. Between the beak and forehead, completely missing her tail. The rest of the body to notice the soft and loose feathers.

The tail swamp chicken is not too long. Tail feathers she has twelve. To the top of its tail can reach all tail covert feathers. The wings of birds are wide and short. The first flight feathers of the wings, there are eleven. It should be noted that the size of the marsh hen is small. The differences between a male and a female barely noticeable. The difference is twenty-five millimeters in length. The average weight of the birds can reach the trust grams.

Chicks moorhens have some differences. Downy Chicks are born black and have in the back of a small olive hue. Head chick covered redovitim down. Around can Shine red and grayish-blue skin. Another body Chicks can through the silver hair. The location of the head and the area above the eyes. Foot Chicks of the same color as the body. The beak is a bright orange shade. While at the top he is seen as yellowish-green.

Young birds differ from adults. They have a prominent spot on his forehead. The back has the lighter shades, occasionally can be brown. Golovin in the young white. And the neck and goiter are greyish. The belly can be white and gray. The beak of young animals are painted in brown and olive colors. But the winter bird changes its color and becomes red.

The adult bird has black and gray plumage. It can cast a dark blue hue. The chicken belly is whitish. But on both sides the sides are white longitudinal stripes. The upper part of the wing and the back has an olive color, despite the fact that the fan the bird is represented only in three colors.

The tail has black and white beginning of the end. Legs the bird is green. At the bottom, you notice a bright orange color with red ligation. The beak of the adult only red and black in the middle.

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