BIRD 4

Bird Watching (UK) - - Go Birding -

Straight away, the fluffy plumage of this bird would tell you that we are deal­ing with a young­ster, here. But it is a con­fi­dently swim­ming young­ster, judg­ing from the pho­to­graph. Some of our wa­ter birds have free-swim­ming fluffy chicks just about from hatch­ing. These in­clude duck­lings, grebes and the ‘gallinules’ (Moorhen and Coot). The bill shape looks wrong for a fluffy duck­ling and our grebes have striped chicks with stub­bier bills than this bird. Baby divers also have ro­bust, chunky bills. So per­haps it is a baby gallinule. But both baby Moorhens and baby Coots have red tones (and blue in Moorhens), balder heads and shorter bills. This jet black baby, with a fluffy head and long ivory bill, is a baby Wa­ter Rail.

KEY FEA­TURES

†Black and fluffy †No stripes †Fully feath­ered head, no ‘bald patch’ †Longish ivory bill

Black, fluffy plumage Ob­vi­ously a nat­u­ral swim­mer Pale, nar­row bill

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