White-breasted Waterhen

White-breasted Waterhen

Hindi name: Jalmurgi / Douk

The white-breasted waterhen is widely distributed across Southeast Asia and the Indian Subcontinent.

How does the bird appear…

It has dark grey upperparts and flanks with white face, neck and breast.  body is flattened laterally to allow easier passage through the reeds or undergrowth. The lower belly and undertail are cinnamon coloured. Bill is yellow. Tail is short. Legs are yellow with long toes. Both sexes are similar but female is slightly smaller. Young birds are duller.

Habitat: Where to find this bird?

It inhabits freshwater marshes and in habitats with dense undergrowth. It is found in mangroves, reedbeds, grasslands, ricefields, orchards, parks and garden, and is also found near small streams and pools where there is dense vegetation.


It forages slowly along the edge of waterbody. It mainly takes insects but also takes seed, small fish and aquatic invertebrates.

Breeding & Nesting

It nesting season is mainly June to October but varies locally. It nests in dry location on the ground in marsh vegetation. Both parents are involved in incubation and care of chicks.


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