gal·​li·​nule ˈga-lə-ˌnül How to pronounce gallinule (audio)
: any of several aquatic birds of the rail family with long thin feet and a platelike frontal area on the head: such as
: one (Porphyrula martinica) found from the southern U.S. to Argentina that is purplish blue with olive-green upperparts, a red and yellow bill, and a light blue frontal area

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web There was a common gallinule, two Northern shovelers, a Western kingbird, and a chestnut-sided warbler., 23 Oct. 2021 While potential sightings range from the Hawaiian coot to the Hawaiian gallinule, one particularly fascinating resident creature is the nēnē, a type of native goose that likely evolved from the more widespread Canada goose eons ago. Jared Ranahan, Forbes, 28 Jan. 2023 Three redheads, a cattle egret and a common gallinule at Hummock Pond, and two more cattle egrets at Bartlett’s Farm. Isabela Rocha,, 29 Oct. 2022 An American white pelican, a common gallinule, and two common ravens were all seen on the island., 30 Oct. 2021 Highlights included a cattle egret in South Hadley, four black vultures in Hadley, a common gallinule in Hatfield, and two evening grosbeaks in Amherst., 6 Nov. 2021 In Taunton, a common gallinule was seen at Lake Sabbatia., 23 Oct. 2021 Required to hunt any migratory game bird (waterfowl, coot, rail, gallinule, snipe, dove, sandhill crane and woodcock) in combination with a Federal Duck Stamp and HIP Certification for waterfowl hunters 16 years of age and older. Matt Williams, Dallas News, 14 Aug. 2021 Some interesting waterfowl recorded at South Monomoy Island included 10 gadwalls, four blue-winged teal, two Northern shovelers, three green-winged teal, and two ruddy ducks, as well as a sora, a common gallinule, and two American coots., 19 June 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gallinule.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


borrowed from New Latin Gallinula, genus that includes the moorhen, going back to Latin gallīnula "chicken," from gallīna "hen" + -ula -ule — more at gallinaceous

First Known Use

1776, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of gallinule was in 1776

Dictionary Entries Near gallinule

Cite this Entry

“Gallinule.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


gal·​li·​nule ˈgal-ə-ˌn(y)ü(ə)l How to pronounce gallinule (audio)
: any of several birds related to the rails that are usually found in or near water

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