• Wildlife Friendly Otley

MOORHEN


One of the world’s commonest birds, these are easy to spot down at the Gallows Hill ponds, though they come out of the water much more than their close relatives the Coots. They can even climb trees, though I don’t remember seeing one do so. They breed co-operatively, which means that older chicks help their parents raise younger siblings. The chicks look comical to me, with their messy black down, colourful heads, stubby little wings and huge, oversize feet. Apparently parents will kill their own offspring in order to whittle down a large brood or in times of food shortage, doing this by violently shaking them and pushing them under the water.

Photo by Pixabay

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