• WordNet 3.6
    • n gallinule any of various small aquatic birds of the genus Gallinula distinguished from rails by a frontal shield and a resemblance to domestic hens
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Gallinule (Zoöl) One of several wading birds, having long, webless toes, and a frontal shield, belonging to the family Rallidae. They are remarkable for running rapidly over marshes and on floating plants. The purple gallinule of America is Ionornis Martinica, that of the Old World is Porphyrio porphyrio. The common European gallinule (Gallinula chloropus) is also called moor hen water hen water rail moor coot night bird, and erroneously dabchick. Closely related to it is the Florida gallinule (Gallinula galeata).☞ The purple gallinule of Southern Europe and Asia was formerly believed to be able to detect and report adultery, and for that reason, chiefly, it was commonly domesticated by the ancients.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n gallinule A bird of the subfamily Gallinulinæ, and especially of the genus Gallinula. The gallinules, or mud-hens and water-hens, are marsh-birds related to the rails and coots. Some of them are very beautiful in coloration, and are known as sultans and hyacinths, but most are dull-colored like the rails. There are about 30 species, of several genera, inhabiting most parts of the world. The Florida gallinule, or red-billed mud-hen of the United States, is about 13 inches long, with greenish feet, and a general grayish-black color, becoming brownish-olive on the back, pale or whitish on the belly, and white on the edge of the wing, with white stripes on the flank. It is resident in the Southern States aud common along the coast in marshes. The general habits are like those of rails. The purple gallinule is a much handsomer bird, of a different genus, Ionornis martinica, inhabiting the warmer parts of America and the southern Atlantic coast of the United States. The common or black gallinule is locally called in the United States marsh-hen, moor-hen, mud-hen, marsh-pullet, mud-pullet, rice-hen, king-ortolan, king-sora, water-chicken, etc.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Gallinule gal′i-nūl a genus of aquatic birds closely allied to the coots, of which the common water-hen is a species.
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. gallinula, chicken, dim. of gallina, hen: cf. F. gallinule,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. gallinula, dim. of gallina, a hen.


In literature:

The Florida gallinule is in general pretty silent, I think; but he has a noisy season; then he is indeed noisy enough.
"A Florida Sketch-Book" by Bradford Torrey
This beautiful bird greatly resembles the purple Gallinule in shape and make, but is much superior in size, being as large as a dunghil fowl.
"The Voyage Of Governor Phillip To Botany Bay" by Arthur Phillip
Gallinules live in marshy districts, and some of them might even be called water-fowls.
"Birds Illustrated by Color Photograph [April, 1897]" by Various
Like all the Gallinules and Coots, this species has a scaly crown plate.
"The Bird Book" by Chester A. Reed
"Color Key to North American Birds" by Frank M. Chapman
To the order, =Paludicolae=, belong the cranes, rails, gallinules and coots, or mudhens, as they are commonly called.
"Game Birds and Game Fishes of the Pacific Coast" by Harry Thom Payne
They have the same power of concealing themselves by diving among weeds that has been already said to be possessed by the Gallinule.
"British Birds in their Haunts" by Rev. C. A. Johns
"Endurance Test" by Alan Douglas

In news:

Clearly related to the coot, common moorhen, and the recently imported European bird, purple swamp hen, the purple gallinule is a member of the rail family of birds.
With a boardwalk open to pedestrians, Wolf says the birds, including the Purple Gallinules (Porphyrio martinica) have become conditioned to nearby human activity.
This Purple Gallinule was balancing on fireflag plants in Delray Beach, Florida.