Common Gallinule

Photos by Donna

The Common Gallinule is a unique looking bird with it’s long toes (allowing it to walk on vegetation), red facial shield, and their “candy corn” looking beak.

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Common Gallinule

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Common Gallinule

As with other birds, the functionality of the facial shield appears to relate to protection of the Gallinule’s face while feeding in or moving through dense vegetation, as well as courtship display and territorial defense.

According to Hawaiian mythology, the Gallinule brought fire from the volcano gods to the Hawaiian people and its white forehead was scorched in the process.  The Common Gallinule’s Hawaiian name is “Alae Ula” which means “burnt forehead.”

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