Watercock - Gallicrex

Watercocks (Gallicrex cinerea)
Male Watercock

The Watercocks (Gallicrex cinerea) are large rails.


Distribution / Range

They occur in swamps across south Asia from India and Sri Lanka to south China, Japan and Indonesia.


Breeding / Nesting

Watercocks mostly nest in dry locations. The average clutch consists of 3 - 6 eggs that are placed on the ground in marsh vegetation.



The Watercock has short tail, long toes and a slender body that facilitates moving through the reeds or undergrowth.

Adult males measures about 43 cm in length. The plumage is mostly black-grey in color. The red legs, bill, forehead shield and horn are reddish. Juvenile males are buff-colored, darkening as they mature. Their bill is yellow and their legs are green.

The smaller females measure about 36 cm in length. The plumage is dark brown above and paler below, streaked and barred with darker markings. The bill is yellow and the legs are green.

The chicks are covered with down and black.


Watercock - Either Hen or Non-breeding Male 2693184@N04 Diet / Feeding

Water cocks feed by probing with their bill in mud or shallow water. They also pick up food they see on the ground.

Their main diet consists of insects and small fish and seeds.


Calls / Vocalization

The loud, gulping calls are mostly heard at dawn and dusk.


Species Research by Sibylle Johnson


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