American Purple Gallinule

American Purple Gallinule
American Purple Gallinule
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Gruiformes
Family: Rallidae
Genus: Porphyrio
Species: P. martinica
Binomial name
Porphyrio martinica
Linnaeus, 1766
This article is about the (American) Purple Gallinule, (Porphyrio martinica). For information on the Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio porphyrio), see Purple Swamphen.

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

A medium-sized rail (33 centimetres (13 in) in length) with 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.

Juveniles are brown overall with a brownish olive back[1]. These gallinules will fly short distances with dangling legs.

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

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

The diet of these rails is omnivorous, being known to include 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. They have also been known to eat the eggs and young of other birds.

This species is a very rare vagrant to western Europe. There is a similar species in southern Europe, the Purple Swamphen, Porphyrio porphyrio, but that bird is much larger.



  1. ^ Dunn, John; Alderfer, Jonathan (2006). Field Guide to the Birds of North America (Fifth Edition). National Geographic. pp. 552. 1-4262-0071-4. 
  • BirdLife International (2004). Porphyrio martinica. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 11 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
  • Kaufman, Kenn; Lives of North American Birds. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, NY (1996).

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