Gallinule, a waterbird of the rail family, closely related to the coot. The gallinule is also called water hen and moor hen. It is found in Great Britain and in parts of the Western Hemisphere. Although gallinules have toes rather than webbed feet, they are skilled swimmers and divers. They feed chiefly on vegetation, snails, and crustaceans. From 6 to 14 eggs of various colors are laid on platformlike nests in marshes.
The Florida gallinule, about one foot (30 cm) long, is slate blue, with an olive-brown back, whitish underparts, and red legs and bill. It is found from Canada southward to the West Indies. The slightly smaller purple gallinule has purplish-blue underparts, an olive-green back, greenish-yellow legs, and a red bill. It ranges from the Ohio River southward into South America.
The European gallinule is Gallinula chloropus; Florida gallinule, G. chloropus cachinnans; purple gallinule, Porphyrula martinica. Gallinules belong to the family Rallidae.