Louisiana Photo Gallery

Louisiana Birds - April 2009

April 2009 -- Digiscoped images by Joseph Morlan

Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus cachinnans) 7 April 2009, Lacassine Pool, Lacassine NWR, Cameron Parish, Louisiana. I liked the contrast with the white water lilies. This photo shows the bright scarlet frontal shield which, according to Hawaiian myth brought fire to humans. In North American populations, the shape of this shield is squared off at the top as seen here. In Eurasia it is rounded. This is the race, G. c. cachinnans which occupies mainland North America. It has more brown on the upperparts than other subspecies. Eleven other races are found elsewhere around the world. Some authors consider this bird to be conspecific with the Dusky Moorhen (G. tenebrosa) of Australia which is similar but lacks the white flank stripes. My photo of that species is at: http://outdoors.webshots.com/photo/2526184830040004820gxYWsU The chicks of this species have external wing claws (sometimes apparent fingers) which are used to clamber in the reed beds. These external claws are lost in the adults. I am seeking photos of a chick with visible external fingers and claws for possible publication. Please let me know privately if you can contribute such a photo. I have been told that the American name for this bird will eventually revert to Common Gallinule. . Apparently the fact that the bird is actually a gallinule outweighs the fact that this species is called Moorhen in the rest of the English speaking world. This proposed change was previously rejected by the AOU. See: http://www.museum.lsu.edu/~Remsen/SACCprop335.html Digiscoped with Panasonic DMC-LZ5 Nikon FieldScope 3 / 30X WA hand-held (no adapter)
Joseph Morlan