The common moorhen is a member of the rail family. They are found on every continent around the world with the exception of Australia and Antarctica. In North and South America the American Ornithologists Union and International Ornithological Congress voted in 2011 to split the American versions of the common moorhen into its own species called the common gallinule.
As members of the rail family the common moorhen have long toes. This helps them to run across mud and floating vegetation. They are usually found in freshwater wetland with a lot of tall vegetation which they use for cover. They are a dabbler so they primarily eat aquatic vegetation, although they will also eat the occasional snail or aquatic invertebrate.