Identification: Moorhens are most similar to Coots but smaller, the fleshy shield on their forehead is red, not white, and they have obvious white markings under the tail and in a narrow line along the body. At closer range, the plumage is not completely black but has shades of browns and greys.
Habitat: Breeds and winters on well-vegetated ponds, lakesides and rivers.
Distribution: Very common in freshwater habitats throughout most of Britain, although scarce in parts of north-west Scotland and the Western Isles. In winter the population is boosted by continental birds.
Widespread and easily seen at many wetlands throughout Europe
Population: 240 000 territories in Britain, widespread throughout the country except on the higher ground of England and Wales. In Ireland there are 75 000 territories. Winter influxes could push this total up to a million birds.
900,000-1,200,000 breeding pairs found over many areas of Europe but rarer in southern France and Spain. Its northern limits are at about 60 degrees North.