Common Gallinule, Mississippi River, Green Island Wetlands, Iowa ----------

The Common Gallinule is often confused with the American Coot, but it is easily distinguished by the red shield-like plate above its bill. This chicken-like marsh bird has unwebbed feet but is nevertheless an excellent swimmer. They are also known under the name Common Moorhen. You may hear their loud squeaks, clucks, and screams before you even have a chance to see one. It took me several years to make my first photo of a gallinule and it wasn’t until this summer that I made a few pictures that can be shown in public without embarrassment. They spend the winter in the southern Atlantic states of the US and in South America.