Scientific Name: Gallicrex cinerea

Malay Name: Ayam-ayam Tanduk

Chinese Name: 董鸡

Range: Found from Indian subcontinent to southern China, Japan and Southeast Asia. Northern populations winter to Southeast Asia.

Taxonomy: Monotypic.

Size: M:41-43 cm, F:31-36 cm

Identification: Non-breeding male and female have buff brown plumage with bold dark streaks on the upperparts, narrow barrings on the underparts and yellowish-green bill and legs. Male is significantly larger and has thicker bill than female. Breeding male has black body with streaked buff-brown back, mostly yellowish bill and red frontal shield that extends over the head. Juvenile resembles female.

Habitat: Freshwater wetlands, marshy grasslands and well vegetated ponds in parks/gardens.

Behaviour/Ecology: Usually solitary and skulk in thick cover, occasionally coming out to feed in the open.

Local Status: Uncommon migrant

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2016)

Location: Recent sightings were at Singapore Botanic Gardens, Japanese Garden, Kranji Marsh, Lorong Halus, Seletar and Tuas.

Migrant bar chart (see more bar charts):

Watercock Gallicrex cinerea
Estimated average number of individuals by week based on eBird data, Jul 2013 to Jun 2023
Peak week Jan 01-Jan 07
Early date 08 Jul 1990
Late date 11 Jun 1992
A late-arriving migrant. Occasionally observed in wetlands and grasslands, and unfortunately also a frequent victim of building collisions.


BirdLife International. (2016). Gallicrex cinerea. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22692789A93369824.en. Accessed on 1 January 2023

Jeyarajasingam, A., & Pearson, A. (2012). A Field Guide to the Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. Oxford University Press.

Robson, C. (2014). Field guide to the birds of South-East Asia (Second Edition). Bloomsbury Publishing, London.

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