The Spot-flanked Gallinule Gallinula melanops is a common rallid of southern South America. It is easily seen and can be very approachable. These birds were seen as part of a 5-rallid morning on the promenade at Costanera Sur in Buenos Aires with this picture featuring 3 of them.

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The common name is self-explanatory while the latin name describes the dark marking of the head. The dark markings are easily visible and obvious, but are not present on the birds shown in this post. Despite trawling the internet, it is not clear if these birds are all juveniles, females or non-breeding males. The frontal shield is smaller than one would expect to see on an adult male. If you are familiar with the Argentinian version of the Spot-flanked Gallinule, your opinion would be valued. EZE 01June14 Spot-flanked Gallinule 16

eBird gives a slightly skewed notion of the Spot-flanked Gallinule’s distribution. It is common on freshwater in the lowlands and can be found above 7000 feet in Colombia. eBird contributors are sparse in the interior of the southern half of the continent so the purple squares predominate in the popular spots closer to the edges of the landmass. It resembles a crake rather than a moorhen and its spotted flanks add to the impression. Its bold, confiding nature however soon dispels the thought that this might be a shy Porzana.

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They feed from the surface of the water, taking floating vegetation and insects, diving only occasionally. They are usually quite tolerant of other water birds, but are slightly smaller than the coots and moorhens and susceptible to a bit of bullying.EZE 01June14 Spot-flanked Gallinule 04

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Written by Redgannet
Redgannet has been working for over 33 years as a crew member/flight attendant and enjoys the well-ventilated air of the outdoors. The nom de blog, Redgannet, was adopted to add an air of mystery and to make himself more attractive to women. His father first whetted Redguga's appetite for all things natural by buying him his first pair of 7x35s and a copy of Thorburn's Birds. Having no mentor beyond an indulgent parent, he spent the first season hoping for an Egyptian Vulture at the bird table in his English garden. His most memorable birding moment is seeing an Egyptian Vulture with those same binoculars 26 years later. Redgannet is married to Canon, but his heart and half of his house belongs to Helen and their son Joseph. He is looking forward to communicating with people who don't ask if he is searching for the "feathered variety" of bird.