Lesser Moorhen Paragallinula angulata


Justification of Red List Category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend is not known, but the population is not believed to be decreasing sufficiently rapidly to approach the thresholds under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Trend justification
The population trend is difficult to determine because of uncertainty over the impacts of habitat modification on population sizes.


Behaviour This species is an intra-African migrant with movements related to seasonal rainfall, although some populations may be resident all year round in permanent habitats (del Hoyo et al 1996). The timing of the breeding season varies geographically (del Hoyo et al 1996), with the species breeding in solitary well-separated territorial pairs (Urban et al. 1986). Habitat The species inhabits permanent and temporary freshwater wetlands such as papyrus swamps, reedbeds, marshes with rushes and open water, ponds with floating vegetation (e.g. water-lilies), flood-plains and pans with emergent grass, sedges and floating plants, rank vegetation on the edges of ponds, dams, rivers and forest streams, rice-fields, flooded farmland, sewage ponds, seasonally inundated grassland (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al 1996, Taylor and van Perlo 1998), gravel pits (Zimbabwe) and coastal lagoons (Ghana) (Taylor and van Perlo 1998); although it shows a preference for temporary waters with abundant emergent vegetation (del Hoyo et al 1996). Diet The species is omnivorous, its diet consisting of molluscs, insects (especially beetles) and vegetable matter such as the seeds and flowers of reeds (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al 1996, Taylor and van Perlo 1998). Breeding site The nest is a pad of grass or sedge with a shallow cup that is usually placed on the surface of water or up to 5 cm above it (water typically 20-100 cm deep), alternatively in emergent grass or sedges up to 1.5 m tall (del Hoyo et al 1996, Taylor and van Perlo 1998).


The species is threatened by wetland habitat loss through draining, damming and grazing (Taylor and van Perlo 1998). Utilisation The species was hunted in the past for subsistence in northern Namibia (Urban et al. 1986). Currently the species is hunted for trade (at traditional medicine markets) in Nigeria (Nikolaus 2001), and for local consumption and trade at Lake Chilwa, Malawi (Bhima 2006).


Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Malpas, L.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Paragallinula angulata. Downloaded from on 10/08/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 10/08/2022.