White-breasted Waterhen

Scientific Name: Amaurornis phoenicurus

Malay Name: Ruak-ruak Biasa

Chinese Name: 白胸苦恶鸟

Range: Found from the Indian subcontinent, Southern China to Southeast Asia with northern population wintering in Southeast Asia.

Taxonomy: Polytypic. Subspecies are: phoenicurus, insularis, leucocephalus, midnicobarica, leucomelana.

Local Subspecies: phoenicurus

Size: 28.5-36 cm

Identification: Adult has white face and underparts contrasting with dark slaty-grey upperparts, chestnut undertail-coverts and distinctive yellowish-green bill with red base. Juvenile has browner upperparts, dark spots on ear-coverts and less white over eye.

Habitat: Various kinds of well-vegetated wetlands, pools and streams in open forest, mangroves and adjacent open areas, track, roadsides, gardens and parks.

Behaviour/Ecology: Not shy and frequently forages in the open.

Local Status: Very common resident

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2016)

Location: Any patch of suitable habitat.


BirdLife International. (2016). Amaurornis phoenicurus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22692640A95217833.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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