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

Examples of gallinule in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web At the center of the splash are the gallinule’s adaptive feet. Carlyn Kranking, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 June 2024 Single hooded warblers at the Grace A. Robson Sanctuary and the Bear Hole watershed in Springfield, two Acadian flycatchers in Granville, eight upland sandpipers at the Westover Grasslands Complex, and a common gallinule at the Fannie Stebbins Wildlife Refuge. Isabela Rocha,, 27 May 2023 Other sightings around the Cape included a continuing common gallinule in Mashpee, a glaucous gull in Osterville, 2 Cory’s shearwaters and 2 laughing gulls in Barnstable, 6 red crossbills in Orleans, and an evening grosbeak and a short-eared owl in Eastham., 21 Dec. 2022 Songbirds love the abundant oak trees at Tree Tops, and birders have recorded 17 species of wood warblers, along with spectacular purple gallinules, which love the marshy wetlands. Lois K. Solomon, Sun Sentinel, 10 Apr. 2023 Other sightings around the Cape included a common gallinule at Santuit Pond in Mashpee, single common nighthawks in Bourne and Brewster, late snowy egrets in Sandwich and Wellfleet plus 3 at Monomoy NWR, a late piping plover at Nauset Beach in Orleans, and 2 Bohemian waxwings in Eastham., 9 Nov. 2022 Here's our gallinule again. Woah! Jacob Job, Scientific American, 16 July 2021 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

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'gallinule.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 18 Jul. 2024.

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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