Definition of gallinule in US English:



  • A marsh bird of the rail family, with mainly black, purplish-blue, or dark green plumage, and a red bill.

    Genera Porphyrio and Porphyrula (or Gallinula), family Rallidae: several species, including the purple gallinule (Porphyrula martinica), found from the southeastern US to Argentina. See also moorhen

    • ‘Gender-biased incubation patterns in the rails and gallinules are poorly known, but male nocturnal incubation has been documented in several species, including at least one that is not considered a joint layer.’
    • ‘It's a takahe, an extraordinary, huge flightless gallinule long believed to be extinct until rediscovered in a remote mountain range 50 years ago.’
    • ‘This close relative of the gallinules and moorhens lives on open water and is sometimes mistaken for a duck.’
    • ‘In a familiar oxbow lake, there were gallinules and egrets, even a couple of brightly colored wood ducks and five blue-winged teal.’
    • ‘Since 1975, I have found common gallinule during the nesting season near Lake Elmo, Washington County.’


Late 18th century: from modern Latin Gallinula (genus term), diminutive of Latin gallina ‘hen’, from gallus ‘cock’.