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American Purple gallinule

Porphyrio martinicus


This is a medium-sized rail, measuring 26–37 cm (10–15 in) in length, spanning 50–61 cm (20–24 in) across the wings and weighing 141–305 g (5.0–10.8 oz).[3][4] Males, averaging 257 g (9.1 oz) in mass, are slightly larger than females, at 215 g (7.6 oz) on average.[5] The adult Purple gallinule has big yellow feet, purple-blue plumage with a green back, and red and yellow bill. It has a pale blue forehead shield and white undertail. Darkness or low light can dim the bright purple-blue plumage of the adult to make them look dusky or brownish, although the forehead shield color differentiates them from similar species such as Common Gallinules.


Manmade reclaimed water based swamp with an everglades type environment.


Arguably one of the nominees for most beautiful Florida bird.

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joan6153 10 years ago

I have seen these in Green Cay and just posted a photo of one.

Mick G
Mick G 10 years ago

@joan6153 I live in Boynton and work in Boca. You'll probably see similar spottings.

Mick G
Mick G 10 years ago

@joan6153 Green Cay but have trouble putting the exact location in for the preserve. I love seeing these. Posting, in a minute, another bird that I have seen too. A Purple swamphen. Same genus but different species.

joan6153 10 years ago

Great shots! I'm guessing Green Cay or Wakodahatchee wetlands. Both are terrific and photogenic spots to see south Florida birds.

Mick G
Mick G 10 years ago

Thanks @LisaPowers for the great fun fact. I'm gonna post a bird in a minute that is becoming an invasive in Florida that is actually the bird that has been getting the name swamphen. It looks like a"giant" purple gallinule but not as nice looking. Kinda pastel-ish. It is a native of Thailand and seems likely to become established in Florida. I see it often. Its habit is to stay in hiding even more that the purple gallinule and it tears up the swamp plant material. I have had difficulty getting good shots but finally have one. Please what your thoughts are.

LisaPowers 10 years ago

Project Noah Fun Fact: The American purple gallinule (aka swamp hen) is a very colorful member of the rail family. Found throughout the swamps and marshes of the southeastern United States, the Caribbean, Central and much of South America. It has very long toes on its feet that assist it when walking across lily pads and other vegetation in the swamps and marshes. Occasionally it strays as far north into Canada and has even been spotted in Europe and Africa. They build their nests on floating rafts and lay from 5 to 10 eggs.

Mick G
Spotted by
Mick G

Boynton Beach, Florida, USA

Spotted on Mar 28, 2014
Submitted on Mar 28, 2014

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