A dark, pigeon-sized bird, the moorhen has a long tail with a white underside. The adult is almost completely black, with a yellow-tipped red bill and long, greenish-yellow legs. Young moorhens are greyish brown with a whitish throat and dark bill and legs.
The moorhen lives on smaller lakes, ponds, pools and rivers with dense vegetation cover. It is found throughout Europe, except for the far north.
Usually secretive, the moorhen may sometimes be seen walking on riverbanks or in waterside meadows. Its nest is a roofed basket built on the ground and well hidden in dense vegetation. It feeds on water invertebrates and small vertebrates.