Thai National Parks

Birds of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Watercock

Thai: นกอีลุ้ม, nok e-lum

Binomial name: Gallicrex cinerea, Johann Friedrich Gmelin, 1789

The watercock (Gallicrex cinerea) is a waterbird in the rail and crake family Rallidae. It is the only member of the genus Gallicrex.

Their breeding habitat is swamps across south Asia from India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka to south China, Japan, Philippines and Indonesia. They nest in a dry location on the ground in marsh vegetation, laying 3-6 eggs. These large rails are mainly permanent residents throughout their range.

The body of this rail is flattened laterally to allow easier passage through the reeds or undergrowth. It has long toes and a short tail.

Adult male watercocks are 43 cm long and weigh 476 - 650 g. They have mainly black-grey plumage with red legs, bill, extended frontal shield and horn. Young males are buff in colour, darkening as they mature. Their bill is yellow and their legs are green.

Female birds are smaller at 36 cm and 298 - 434 g. They are dark brown above and paler below. the plumage is streaked and barred with darker markings. The bill is yellow and the legs are green. The downy chicks are black, as with all rails.

These birds probe with their bill in mud or shallow water, also picking up food by sight. They mainly eat insects and small fish and seeds. They forage on the ground.

Watercock are quite secretive, but are sometimes seen out in the open. They are noisy birds, especially at dawn and dusk, with a loud, gulping call.

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Scientific classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Gruiformes
Family
Rallidae
Genus
Gallicrex
Species
Gallicrex cinerea

Common names

  • Thai: นกอีลุ้ม, nok e-lum

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Distribution map of Watercock, Gallicrex cinerea in Thailand
  • Amphawa District, Samut Songkhram
  • Ban Laem District, Phetchaburi
  • Ban Lat District, Phetchaburi
  • Ban Phai District, Khon Kaen
  • Bang Len District, Nakhon Pathom
  • Bang Phra Non-hunting Area
  • Bangkok Province
  • Borabue District, Maha Sarakham
  • Bueng Boraped Non-hunting Area
  • Chatturat District, Chaiyaphum
  • Chiang Dao District, Chiang Mai
  • Chiang Saen District, Chiang Rai
  • Doi Lo District, Chiang Mai
  • Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Hat Noppharat Thara - Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park
  • Hat Yai District, Songkhla
  • Huai Chorakhe Mak Reservoir Non-hunting Area
  • Kabin Buri District, Prachinburi
  • Kaeng Krachan National Park
  • Kantharawichai District, Maha Sarakham
  • Khao Lak - Lam Ru National Park
  • Khao Nang Panthurat Forest Park
  • Khao Phra - Bang Khram Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park
  • Khao Sok National Park
  • Khao Yai National Park
  • Khao Yoi District, Phetchaburi
  • Khlong Luang District, Pathum Thani
  • Khun Chae National Park
  • Klaeng District, Rayong
  • Kumphawapi District, Udon Thani
  • Laem Pak Bia
  • Mae Ai District, Chiang Mai
  • Mae Taeng District, Chiang Mai
  • Mu Ko Chang National Park
  • Mu Ko Similan National Park
  • Mu Ko Surin National Park
  • Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai
  • Mueang Chumphon District, Chumphon
  • Mueang Khon Kaen District, Khon Kaen
  • Mueang Lamphun District, Lamphun
  • Mueang Nakhon Nayok District, Nakhon Nayok
  • Mueang Pattani District, Pattani
  • Mueang Phang Nga District, Phang Nga
  • Mueang Phetchaburi District, Phetchaburi
  • Mueang Ratchaburi District, Ratchaburi
  • Mueang Suphanburi District, Suphan Buri
  • Mueang Tak District, Tak
  • Mueang Uttaradit District, Uttaradit
  • Nong Bong Khai Non-hunting Area
  • Nong Yai Area Development Project Under Royal Init
  • Pak Phli District, Nakhon Nayok
  • Pak Thale
  • Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Phra Phrom District, Nakhon Si Thammarat
  • Pran Buri District, Prachuap Khiri Khan
  • Sai Noi District, Nonthaburi
  • Samut Prakan Province
  • San Sai District, Chiang Mai
  • Sanam Bin Reservoir Non-hunting Area
  • Sathing Phra District, Songkhla
  • Sirinat National Park
  • Takua Pa District, Phang Nga
  • Taphan Hin District, Phichit
  • Tha Sala District, Nakhon Si Thammarat
  • Tha Takiap District, Chachoengsao
  • Thalang District, Phuket
  • Thale Noi Non-hunting Area
  • Than Sadet - Koh Pha-Ngan National Park
  • Thanyaburi District, Pathum Thani
  • Wat Phai Lom & Wat Ampu Wararam Non-hunting Area

Range map of Gallicrex cinerea in Thailand

Important note; our range maps are based on limited data we have collected. The data is not necessarily accurate or complete.

Special thanks to Ton Smits and Parinya Pawangkhanant for their help with many range data.

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