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African Purple Swamphen | Porphyrio madagascariensis

The African Purple Swamphen is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Rallidae bird family group which includes birds such as Flufftails, Rails, Crakes, Gallinules, Swamphens, Moorhens, Coots.

The description for the African Purple Swamphen (Latin name Porphyrio madagascariensis) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Porphyrio madagascariensis can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 223 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 330. You will find a picture of the African Purple Swamphen on page 305.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

This bird is known as Purple Gallinule in the Roberts 6th Edition. The Latin name for this bird is Porphyrio porphyrio in the Roberts 6th Edition.

The African Purple Swamphen is known in Afrikaans as Grootkoningriethaan.

The African Purple Swamphen has a height of 46 cms and weighs around 555 gms. The head is coloured purple, blue while the bill is coloured red. The Porphyrio madagascariensis has a blue coloured throat, pink legs and a olive coloured back. The eyes are red.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is purple, blue

Eyes are red

Bill is red

Legs are pink

Throat is blue

Back is olive

Feeding Habits ...

The African Purple Swamphen is usually seen hunting for food within the tree foliage

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten .

Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The African Purple Swamphen is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 2 to 5 eggs and they are coloured cream.

The nest is built high up in the tree canopy and is protected from predators by branches and the dense green foligae.

The African Purple Swamphen is found in the Southern African wetlands, riverine forests and moist grasslands.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The African Purple Swamphen is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.

It is also seen in flocks

The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition * edited by PAR Hockey, WRJ Dean and PG Ryan, published by "The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund."

copyright: Tony Roocroft +27-11-454-0105

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