Juvenile and Adult Florida Gallinules

Yesterday, Rocky and I walked to water which fills an indentation in the ground in a grassy area.  Since it stays even when it is dry here, I guess it earns the name, “pond.”  We saw a few juvenile Florida Gallinules, also known as Common Moorhens.  While Sibley and other guides show the immature FG as a medium grey bird with a grey to yellowish bill, that is actually the “adolescent” version.  This younger version is still downy, has a a crown of red feathers on its crown and a red and yellow beak though less bright than the adult and lacking the bright red forehead.  It is interesting to me because this very young Gallinule will lose it’s red crown feathers.  It will also lose the color on its beak only to regain it in brighter shades as a summer adult.  They are also hard to photograph, their eagle eyes catching sight of a photographer quite far away and/or listening carefully to the “Peep” warnings of parents and swimming into the cover of waterplants.   -SLB

2012_07_09 Juvenile and Adult Florida Gallinules St. Petersburg, FL

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