Unsorted Wild Birds

American Purple Gallinule


 

The American Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinica) is a “swamp hen” in the rail family Rallidae.

Distribution / Range

Their breeding habitat is warm swamps and marshes in southeastern states of the United States and the tropical regions of Central America and the Caribbean. This species is resident in southern Florida and the tropics, but most American birds are migratory, wintering south to Argentina.

This species is a very rare vagrant to western Europe.

Description

This medium-sized rail is unmistakable, with its huge yellow feet, purple-blue plumage with a green back, and red and yellow bill. It has a pale blue forehead shield and white undertail.

These gallinules will fly short distances with dangling legs.

Immature birds are brown rather than purple.

Similar Species:

There is a similar species in southern Europe, the Purple Swamphen, Porphyrio porphyrio, but that bird is much larger.

Breeding / Nesting

The nest is a floating structure in a marsh. Five to ten eggs are laid. Their coloration is buff with brown spots.

Diet / Feeding

The American PurpleGallinule’s diet consists of a wide variety of plant and animal matter, including seeds, leaves and fruits of both aquatic and terrestrial plants, as well as insects, frogs, snails, spiders, earthworms and fish. It has also been known to eat the eggs and young of other birds.

American Purple Gallinule

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson


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Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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