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Common gallinule

Gallinula galeata

A member of the rail family, the Common gallinule can be seen here year-round. It is a medium sized bird with mainly dark gray plumage, a white strip on its sides and white outer tail feathers. It also sports a distinctive bright red bill and forehead shield. The yellowish legs are medium long, and its feet have long toes which help it spread its weight whilst foraging amongst aquatic vegetation. Omnivorous, the gallinule’s food includes plant matter, seeds, insects, and snails. During the spring and summer months gallinule families can be seen raising their young along the lake margins and floating vegetation. There are two similar looking birds that may be seen on the lake. Firstly, the American coot can be identified by black plumage and a white bill and forehead shield. Secondly the Purple gallinule is more brightly colored, with purple and green plumage, a red bill, and a sky blue forehead shield.