Purple Swamphen

Porphyrio porphyrio poliocephalus

Order

GRUIFORMES

Family

Rails, Gallinules and Coots (Rallidae)

Code 4

PUSW

Code 6

PORPOP

ITIS

ILLUSTRATION

ask community
Copyright © 2020 Mitch Waite Group

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; a population of the Gray-headed subspecies is now well-established in southern Florida. 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: Very large, blue-purple rail with a blue-black head, orange-red frontal shield and bill, green-blue back, and broad, blue and turquoise-blue wings. Red eye. Very short, black or blue-black tail with white undertail. Long, red-pink legs and long toes. Sexes are similar except female's head is mostly blue and male's head is mostly blue-gray. Feeds on green shoots and bits of vegetation, snails, small fish, and other small animals. The Purple Swamphen is an introduced species to North America and the plumage characteristics of this population appear consistent with the P. p. poliocephalus subspecies that is native to India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, eastward to south central China, and northern Thailand, and/or P. p. caspius, native to eastern Turkey, the Caspian Sea, and northwestern Iraq.


Range and Habitat

Purple Swamphen: A nonnative population in southeast Florida has been established, likely from accidental escapes in the mid 1990s. Their native range is from parts of the Middle East and India to northern Thailand and southern China. In Florida, it is found in shallow flooded wetlands and nearby grassy areas, such as lawns and golf courses.

whatbird search for your browser

Purple Swamphen SONGS AND CALLS

Purple Swamphen_20190322_AS_XC102263_01.mp3

Purple Swamphen_20190322_AS_XC102264_02.mp3

Similar Sounding


Voice Text

Barks, squawks, croaks, "creek"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • An eradication campaign started in October 2006. Nearly 3,200 individuals were culled, but Florida officials ended the program in December 2008 because the effort did not stop population expansion.
  • Even though many taxonomic authorities refer to this species as the Gray-headed Swamphen, Porphyrio poliocephalus, the American Ornithological Society still calls it the Purple Swamphen, Porphyrio porphyrio.
  • The first recorded sighting was in 1996 in Pembroke Pines, Broward County, Florida. These original birds are believed to be escapees from private collections, possibly the result of Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP NORTH AMERICA

About this North America Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across North America.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Artist

Yury Lisyak

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

.
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.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X