common gallinule


: a dark-colored aquatic bird (Gallinula galeata of the family Rallidae) that is widespread in the Americas and has yellow legs, a red frontal shield, and a white band on the flanks

Note: The common gallinule was formerly considered the same species as the moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) of the eastern hemisphere.

It's taken nearly 200 years for ornithologists to conclude that North America's common gallinule is not the same species as Europe's common moorhen. The recent decision is based on differences in vocalizations, differences in the shape of the bill and shield, and differences in mitochondrial DNA.Marcia Davis, The Knoxville (Tennessee) News-Sentinel, 5 Feb. 2012

called also Florida gallinule

Word History

First Known Use

1708, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of common gallinule was in 1708

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Cite this Entry

“Common gallinule.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jul. 2024.

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