Common moorhens Gallinula chloropus, photographed by Neil Phillips.

Belongs within: Rallidae.
Contains: Porzana, Fulica.

The genus Gallinula contains the moorhens, aquatic birds that are all fairly similar in appearance, with dark heads and bodies and commonly a red frontal shield. The typical moorhens of the subgenus Gallinula are found nearly worldwide; except for the dusky moorhen G. tenebrosa of Australasia and the lesser moorhen G. angulata of Africa, they are often treated as subspecies of a single widespread species, the common moorhen G. chloropus. The subgenus Porphyriornis includes two species from the islands of Tristan da Cunha and Gough Island in the South Atlantic (Livezey 1998), though the Tristan species (G. nesiotis) is now extinct. The native hens G. ventralis and G. mortierii of Australia are sometimes treated as a separate genus Tribonyx; they differ from the typical moorhens in having a green or yellow frontal shield. The spot-flanked gallinule G. melanops of South America has black and white-spotted sides and a yellow-green frontal shield; it is similar in overall appearance to the crakes of the genus Porzana and, indeed, may be more closely related to that genus than to other Gallinula species.

<==Gallinula Brisson 1760 (see below for synonymy) CC10
    |  i. s.: G. balcanica Boev 1999 M02
    |         G. disneyi Boles 2005 M09
    |         G. gigantea Tchernov 1980 M02
    |         G. hodgenorum (Scarlett 1955) CC10 (see below for synonymy)
    |         G. pacifica (Hartlaub & Finsch 1871) [=Pareudiastes pacificus] G-RGT14
    |         G. silvestris (Mayr 1933) G-RGT14 [=Edithornis silvestris G-RGT14, Pareudiastes silvestris L98]
    |--+--+--G. melanops (Vieillot 1819) [=Rallus melanops] G-RGT14
    |  |  `--Porzana G-RGT14
    |  `--+--G. ventralis Gould 1836 G-RGT14 (see below for synonymy)
    |     `--+--G. mortierii (DuBus 1840) G-RGT14 [=*Tribonyx mortierii CC10; incl. *Brachyptrallus ralloides CC10]
    |        `--‘Tribonyx’ repertus (De Vis 1888) L98
    `--+--G. (Porphyriornis Allen 1892) L98
       |    |--G. (P.) comeri (Allen 1892) L98 [=G. nesiotis comeri L81]
       |    `--G. (P.) nesiotis (Sclater 1861) L98
       `--G. (Gallinula) L98
            |--G. (G.) angulata Sundevall 1850 G-RGT14
            `--+--Fulica G-RGT14
               `--+--G. (G.) tenebrosa Gould 1836 G-RGT14 (see below for synonymy)
                  `--+--*G. (G.) chloropus (Linnaeus 1758) CC10, L98, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
                     |    |--G. c. chloropus FR98
                     |    |--G. c. guami FR98
                     |    `--G. c. meridionalis L81
                     |--G. (G.) cachinnans Bangs 1815 [incl. G. cerceris] L98
                     |--G. (G.) galeata (Lichtenstein 1818) [=Crex galeata] G-RGT14
                     |    |--G. g. galeata G-RGT14
                     |    `--G. g. sandvicensis Streets 1877 G-RGT14, L98 [=G. chloropus sandvicensis L81]
                     `--G. (G.) pyrrhorrhoa Newton 1861 [incl. G. seychellarum] L98

Inorganic: Gallinula chloropus minilorientalis Okamura 1987 O87

Gallinula Brisson 1760 [=Hydrogallina Lacépède 1799, Stagnicola Brehm 1831; incl. Brachyptrallus Lafresnaye 1840, Microtribonyx Sharpe 1893, Pareudiastes Hartlaub & Finsch 1871 L98, Pyramida Oliver 1955, Tribonyx du Bus de Gisignies 1840; Gallinulinae] CC10

Gallinula hodgenorum (Scarlett 1955) CC10 [=Rallus hodgeni CC10, Capellirallus hodgeni CC10, Gallinula (Tribonyx) hodgeni CC10, *Pyramida hodgeni CC10, Tribonyx hodgenorum L98; incl. Gallirallus hartreei Scarlett 1970 CC10]

Gallinula ventralis Gould 1836 G-RGT14 [=*Microtribonyx ventralis CC10, Tribonyx ventralis L98; incl. T. ventralis territorii Mathews 1912 CC10, T. ventralis whitei Mathews 1912 CC10]

*Gallinula (Gallinula) chloropus (Linnaeus 1758) CC10, L98, CC10 [=Fulica chloropus CC10, *Hydrogallina chloropus CC10, *Stagnicola chloropus CC10; incl. G. correiana L98, G. chloropus indica Blyth 1842 CC10, G. orientalis L98]

Gallinula (Gallinula) tenebrosa Gould 1836 G-RGTR14 [incl. G. tenebrosa magnirostris Mathews 1912 CC10, G. tenebrosa subfrontata Mathews 1912 CC10]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[CC10] Checklist Committee (OSNZ). 2010. Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand, Norfolk and Macquarie Islands, and the Ross Dependency, Antarctica 4th ed. Ornithological Society of New Zealand and Te Papa Press: Wellington.

[FR98] Fritts, T. H., & G. H. Rodda. 1998. The role of introduced species in the degradation of island ecosystems: a case history of Guam. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 29: 113–140.

[G-RGT14] Garcia-R, J. C., G. C. Gibb & S. A. Trewick. 2014. Deep global evolutionary radiation in birds: diversification and trait evolution in the cosmopolitan bird family Rallidae. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 81: 96–108.

[L98] Livezey, B. C. 1998. A phylogenetic analysis of the Gruiformes (Aves) based on morphological characters, with an emphasis on the rails (Rallidae). Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B—Biological Sciences 353: 2077–2151.

[L81] Long, J. L. 1981. Introduced Birds of the World: The worldwide history, distribution and influence of birds introduced to new environments. Reed: Sydney.

[M09] Mayr, G. 2009. Paleogene Fossil Birds. Springer.

[M02] Mlíkovský, J. 2002. Cenozoic Birds of the World. Part 1: Europe. Ninox Press: Praha.

[O87] Okamura, C. 1987. New facts: Homo and all Vertebrata were born simultaneously in the former Paleozoic in Japan. Original Report of the Okamura Fossil Laboratory 15: 347–573.

Last updated: 17 August 2019.

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