Purple Swamphen


Purple Swamphen

Scientific Name:  Porphyrio porphyrio

Purple Swamphen image

Purple Swamphen  Photo by:  --

Bird Type:  Duck-like Birds    535  Views


The Purple Swamphen has silky purple-blue plumage with metallic gloss on throat and breast, contrasting with the white undertail coverts.
The very large bill is triangle-shaped, with bulky and curved upper mandible, giving the bird a strange appearance. The bill extends to the head top in a bright red shield, as bill and long legs. The slender toes show fine claws, and especially the rear toe. Eyes are red too. Both sexes are similar.


  • 45-50 cm

  • 18-20 Inch

  • purple

  • blue  (Bird may have more colors)
  •    কামচৰাই
  •    বেগুনি কালেম
  •    નીલ કૂકડી, નીલ જળમુરઘો
  •    कैम, खरीम, कलीम
  •    ಕೆನ್ನೀಲಿ ನೀರು ಕೋಳಿ
  •    നീലക്കോഴി
  •    जांभळी पाणकोंबडी
  •    कुर्मा
  •    राजीव अम्बुकुक्कुटी
  •    நீலத் தாழைக்கோழி

The Purple Swamphen frequents the marshes with sedges, where flood and dryness alternate. At this moment, the birds reach coastal lagoons and rivers where they spend the late summer and the autumn, until the new flood of the marshes with rains and the rising of water level.


The Purple Swamphen is primarily vegetarian and feeds on stems and sap from aquatic plants. It may sometimes consume dead fish, frogs and snails found between two canals.


An explosive, nasal, rising quinquinkrrkrr; in alarm; also a soft chuck-chuck.


The Purple Swamphen is a large rail. It is mainly dusky black above, with a broad dark blue collar, and dark blue to purple below. As the Purple Swamphen walks, it flicks its tail up and down, revealing its white undertail. The bill is red and robust, and the legs and feet orange-red. For such a bulky bird, the Swamphen is an accomplished flier and will readily take to the air to escape danger. In flight, the long legs and elongated toes trail behind or hang underneath the body. Purple Swamphens are proficient swimmers, but prefer to wander on the edges of the water, among reeds and on floating vegetation.
The Purple Swamphen feeds in a strange way, using its long toes. It feeds while walking if it is protected, along the muddy area close to the reeds.
The food is taken with one leg, mainly the right leg. The food items are held between the toes and raised until half of height separating them from the bill.
Purple Swamphens are generally found in small groups and studies have shown that these consist of more males than females. More than one male will mate with a single female. All family members, and occasionally the young from a previous brood, share in incubation and care of the young. The nest consists of a platform of trampled reeds with the surrounding vegetation sometimes being used to form a shelter. Often two broods will be raised in a year.

    Resident (inc. local and altitudinal migrants)
    Former range (no recent records but may still survive)
    Summer visitor (including summer monsoon)
    Winter visitor
    Passage (autumn and/or spring) visitor
    known to be occasional, scarce or erratic
    Small isolated population (actual range smaller)  
    Isolated record(s) - one or more in the same area  
 colour coded for seasonality as per coloured ranges, black denotes unspecified season