Pale-vented Bush-hen (species: Amaurornis moluccana) in Broadwater NP (Gaia Guide)
Amaurornis moluccana
Pale-vented Bush-hen

©Tom Tarrant: Pale-vented Bush-hen (Amaurornis moluccana)
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Gruiformes
Family Rallidae
Genus Amaurornis
Species Amaurornis moluccana
Status least concern



Distinguishing features

It is an all-dark waterbird, dark olive-brown above, with a dark-grey face, usually merging to paler off-white chin, and dark-grey on the lower throat, breast and belly and rufous-brown on the lower underbody. The bill is lime-green with an orange-red base to the upper mandible during the breeding season, and paler green without orange when not breeding; the legs are greenish-yellow. (NSW Government)


  • From 25 cm to 30 cm (Length of specimen)


  • Wingspan data is not yet available.



©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Distribution and habitat preferences

It is found in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Australia and the Solomon Islands. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests. (Wikipedia)

In Australia, the Pale-vented Bush-hen occurs mainly in coastal and subcoastal regions from the Top End of the Northern Territory and Cape York Peninsula south through eastern Queensland to north-eastern NSW. There are a few records in the Kimberley Division of northern Western Australia. In NSW, Bush-hens are an apparently uncommon resident from the Queensland border south to the Clarence River, though the species appears to be expanding its range southwards with recent records as far south as the Nambucca River. Outside Australia, the species occurs in the Moluccas, western and southern New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago and the Solomon Islands. The subspecies present in Australia is ruficrissa which also occurs in southern and eastern New Guinea. (NSW Government)


It eats seeds, plant matter, earthworms, insects and some frogs, taken from ground cover or by wading at edges of streams or wetlands. (NSW Government)

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