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Purple Swamphen

Purple Swamphen
Scanned image of medium format slide 
Australian Museum 
photographer: J. Fields
 
Introduction:

The Purple Swamphen is found around freshwater swamps, streams and marshes.

Identification:

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.

Size:

44 - 48 cm

Distribution:

Purple Swamphens are common throughout eastern and northern Australia, with a separate subspecies common in the extreme south-west of the continent. Birds have transported themselves from Australia to New Guinea and New Zealand and throughout the islands of the south-west Pacific. It has been suggested that the New Zealand population of Purple Swamphens (locally called the Pukeko) originated in Australia.

Habitat:

The Purple Swamphen is found around freshwater swamps, streams and marshes.

Feeding and Diet:

The diet of the Purple Swamphen includes the soft shoots of reeds and rushes and small animals, such as frogs and snails. However, it is a reputed egg stealer and will also eat ducklings when it can catch them. The Purple Swamphen uses its long toes to grasp food while eating.

Communication:

A loud, penetrating 'kee-ow', as well as some softer clucking between members of a group while feeding.


Breeding Behaviours:

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.
Related Objects:

Related Objects


(c) assumed Australian Museum.

O.73513 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) - No Data ,

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

O.72592 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Australia, No Data ,
A.9342 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Australia, New South Wales, Tindarey , (31 7' S , 145 50' E),
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O.67400 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Australia, Northern Territory, Daly R , (13 29' S , 130 26' E), 7 Feb 1902
O.67401 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Australia, Northern Territory, Daly R , (13 29' S , 130 26' E), 7 Feb 1902

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

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A.9644 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Australia, Queensland, Darling Downs , (27 11' S , 151 15' E),
B.9392 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Australia, New South Wales, Bellingen District , (30 27' S , 152 54' E),

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

O.12364 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Australia, Norfolk Island, Norfolk Island , (29 4' S , 167 56' E), 2 Nov 1889

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

O.32176 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Australia, New South Wales, Tumut , (35 18' S , 148 13' E), 2 Aug 1926
O.71933 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) ,
O.61577 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Australia, Victoria, Sale , (38 7' S , 147 4' E), 12 Oct 1910
O.69051 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Australia, Queensland, Malanda , (17 20' S , 145 35' E), 10 Mar 1996
O.60225 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Australia, Northern Territory, Magela Floodplain Within 10 Km Of 12O17'S 132O51'E , (12 17' S , 132 51' E), 14 Mar 1982
B.3796 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Australia, New South Wales, Lord Howe Island , (31 30' S , 159 4' E), 1884
O.47828 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Australia, Western Australia, Ord River Irrigation Area, Near Kununurra , (15 46' S , 128 44' E), 29 Nov 1979
O.47909 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Australia, Western Australia, Ord River Irrigation Area: Kununnura , (15 46' S , 128 44' E), 29 Nov 1979
O.67414 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Australia, Western Australia, Lake Bibra , (32 6' S , 115 49' E), 30 Sep 1962
O.55862 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Australia, Queensland, Burrenbilla Station, Cunnamulla , (28 9' S , 145 43' E), 13 Aug 1901
O.67398 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Australia, New South Wales, Copmanhurst , (29 35' S , 152 46' E), 17 Dec 1895
O.53854 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Australia, Western Australia, Ord River Irrigation Area, Near Kununurra , (15 46' S , 128 44' E), 1 Feb 1980
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O.53275 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Australia, Western Australia, Ord River Irrigation Area, Near Kununurra , (15 46' S , 128 44' E), 15 Feb 1980
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(c) assumed Australian Museum.

O.25604 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Australia, Queensland, Coomooboolaroo, Duaringa , (23 52' S , 149 34' E), 15 Oct 1893

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

O.25192 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Australia, Queensland, Coomooboolaroo , (23 52' S , 149 34' E), 23 Oct 1893

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

O.25191 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Australia, New South Wales, Copmanhurst , (29 35' S , 152 46' E), 24 Sep 1901
O.53561 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Australia, Western Australia, Ord River Irrigation Area, Near Kununurra , (15 46' S , 128 44' E), 1 Feb 1980
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O.53735 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Australia, Western Australia, Ord River Irrigation Area, Near Kununurra , (15 46' S , 128 44' E), 29 Nov 1979

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

O.32835 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Australia, New South Wales, Sydney: Ingleburn , (34 S , 150 52' E),
O.65611 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Australia, New South Wales, Springfield , (33 26' S , 151 22' E), 29 Apr 1995

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

O.30124 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Australia, New South Wales, Barrington River , (31 58' S , 151 55' E), 1912
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O.54100 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Australia, Western Australia, Ord River Irrigation Area: Kununnura , (15 46' S , 128 44' E), 15 Feb 1980
O.53560 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Australia, Western Australia, Ord River Irrigation Area, Near Kununurra , (15 46' S , 128 44' E), 15 Feb 1980
O.53559 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Australia, Western Australia, Ord River Irrigation Area, Near Kununurra , (15 46' S , 128 44' E), 15 Feb 1980
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O.64701 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Australia, New South Wales, Port Macquarie , (31 27' S , 152 55' E), 16 Feb 1993
O.55155 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Australia, New South Wales, Sydney: Narraweena: Warringah Rd, Near Consul Rd , (33 45' S , 151 16' E), 4 Jun 1981
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(c) assumed Australian Museum.

O.32177 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Australia, New South Wales, Tumut , (35 18' S , 148 13' E), 2 Aug 1926

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

O.32178 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Australia, New South Wales, Tumut , (35 18' S , 148 13' E), 2 Aug 1926
O.67716 - Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Australia, Queensland, Atherton Tableland: Malanda Area , (17 21' S , 145 36' E), 27 Feb 1996