Large, distinctive chickenlike marsh dweller, elusive and often difficult to see in the heavily vegetated wet fields and marshes it inhabits. Male is unmistakable, with black body, brown-edged wing coverts, and red-and-yellow bill with raised, spiky red frontal shield (unlike smaller moorhen). Females and immature are similarly large but yellowish brown below, grayish upperparts edged with pale brown, and lack male’s frontal shield. Males are very vocal when breeding, producing odd, liquid-sounding gulping calls in short series. Both sexes make a range of incisive, guttural clucking and creaking calls and also a sharp “keek” in alarm.