Purple Swamphen

Porphyrio porphyrio pelewensis

Order

GRUIFORMES

Family

Rails, Gallinules and Coots (Rallidae)

Code 4

Non-AOU

Code 6

PORPOR

ITIS

ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Purple Swamphen has a very large range of 18,400,000 square kilometers. Various, distinct subspecies occur in the western Mediterranean, sub-Saharan Africa, Asia Minor, southern Asia, Indonesia, New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, and some islands in the western and southern Pacific Ocean. The subspecies that occurs in Palau is a rare resident of wetland habitats. Although the size of the global population is unknown, it is large and stable enough to warrant a conservation rating of Least Concern.

SUMMARY

Overview

Purple Swamphen: Large, blue-purple rail with blue-black head, orange-red frontal shield, green-black back, and white vent. Large, deep, orange-red bill. Broad, black and purple-blue wings. Very short, black tail with white undertail. Long, red-pink legs and long toes. Sexes similar. Juvenile is duller overall with gray-black legs, feet, and bill.


Range and Habitat

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Purple Swamphen SONGS AND CALLS

Purple Swamphen A1

Shrill "kee" and "kee-orrh" calls.

Purple Swamphen E1

Loud and shrill squawks.

Similar Sounding


Voice Text

"chuck", "n-yip"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The Purple Swamphen is known locally as the pukeko. Other common names include African Purple Swamphen, Purple Moorhen, Purple Gallinule, Purple Coot, or the Sultana Bird.
  • The writings of Pliny the Elder indicate that wealthy Romans kept these birds as decoration in large villas. They were viewed as noble birds, and so were one of the few bird species the Romans did not eat.
  • There are at least 13 subspecies of this bird; the New Zealand subspecies was viewed as a chiefly pet both in New Zealand and Samoa, where it is called Manuali'i - "chiefly bird."

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP PALAU

About this Palau Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across the Palau islands.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Artist

Michael Oberhofer

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

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Frontal shieldX
The area where the bill extends onto the forehead of the bird. It is often brightly colored and is meant to grab the attention of other birds.
VentX
Birds do not have two separate cavities for excrement and reproduction like humans do. In birds, there is one single entrance/exit that suits both functions called the vent, cloaca or anus.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X