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common name for some members of the large family Rallidae, marsh and tropical forest birds that include the gallinule and the coot, two specialized rails. Rails are cosmopolitan in distribution, except in polar regions.
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(Gallínula), a genus of birds in the order Grui-formes. There are four species: the common gallinule (Gallínula chlowpus) is found in the USSR. Length, approximately 35 cm. Its legs are long, and the beak and tail are short. The back is brownish olive, and the belly gray; there are white lengthwise stripes along the sides. The head is black, with a red spot on the forehead, and the beak is red with a yellow top. Birds of the Gallínula genus are found throughout the world, except Australia.
In the USSR, the common gallinule is found as far north as Leningrad and Omsk and as far east as the Altai. It also nests in Primor’e Krai, Sakhalin Island, and the southern Kuril Islands.
Gallinules are migratory birds and only rarely stay the winterin their nesting grounds. They settle in freshwater, overgrown, grassy bodies of water and build nests in the middle of the waterin rushes or bushes. The female lays six to 12 eggs twice a year.They feed mainly on aquatic invertebrates.