Dusty Moorhens can be seen in many locations around Bundaberg including the Botanic Gardens, Baldwin Swamp Enviro Park and Moore Park Wetlands Reserve. Photo: Contributed.
Dusty Moorhens can be seen in many locations around Bundaberg including the Botanic Gardens, Baldwin Swamp Enviro Park and Moore Park Wetlands Reserve. Photo: Contributed.

BIRD OF THE WEEK: Learn more about this familiar waterbird

The Dusky Moorhen spends its whole life on or around wetlands, swamps and rivers.

It has fairly dull colours of grey and black with a white undertail and a distinctive red bill with a yellow tip and a red face shield that extends up to the forehead.

It feeds in the water and on land eating algae, water plants and grasses, as well as seeds, fruits, molluscs and other invertebrates.

It does not dive when feeding but up-ends with its head underwater and its tail sticking up.

If you see a white tail above the water then it will most likely be a Dusky Moorhen.

The Dusky Moorhen has an interesting breeding behaviour where it forms a group of two to seven birds that establish and defend a breeding territory.

All members of the group help to build several nests and all will feed the young nestlings.

Two or more females may lay eggs in the same nest so breeding is a very communal affair.

The nests are made of reeds and other water plants that either float on the water or are built among reed beds.

The young birds are just balls of fluff at first but grow quickly and rely on adults to feed them for many weeks after they have left the nest.

They have to learn what to eat and where to find it by observing adult birds.

They can be seen in many locations around Bundaberg including the Botanic Gardens, Baldwin Swamp Enviro Park and Moore Park Wetlands Reserve.

Allan Briggs is the Secretary of BirdLife Capricornia, contact him with your bird questions at abriggs@irock.com.au.



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