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Purple Swamphen

Purple Swamphen
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5136 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2012-03-02
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D300, Sigma 135-400mm f/4.5-5.6 APO, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/11, 1/500 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2012-03-03 6:55
Viewed: 2761
Points: 54
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Hello Friends,
I’m back from a holiday visit at the nature areas in the Algarve, Portugal. Between the many ‘tourist palaces’ you can find there beautiful nature areas on the coast and more inland.
This photo I made yesterday not far from the airport of Faro in Quinta do Lago on the edge of a golf course.

The Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio), also known as the African Purple Swamphen, Purple Moorhen, Purple Gallinule, Pūkeko or Purple Coot, is a large bird in the family Rallidae (rails). From its name in French, talève sultane, it is also known as the Sultana Bird. This chicken-sized bird, with its huge feet, bright plumage and red bill and frontal shield is easily-recognisable in its native range. It should not be confused with the American Purple Gallinule, Porphyrio martinica.

Taxonomy and physical description
There are 13 or more subspecies of the Purple Swamphen (depending on the authority) which differ mainly in plumage colour. The subspecies groups are: P. p. porphyrio in the Mediterranean, P. p. madagascariensis in Africa, P. p. poliocephalus in tropical Asia, P. p. melanotus in much of Australasia, P. p. indicus in Indonesia and P. p. pulverulentis in the Philippines. European birds are overall purple-blue, African and south Asian birds have a green back, and Australasian and Indonesian birds have black backs and heads.

The species has a very loud explosive call described as a "raucous high-pitched screech, with a subdued musical tuk-tuk". It is particularly noisy during the breeding season. Despite being clumsy in flight it can fly long distances, and it is a good swimmer, especially for a bird without webbed feet.

The Purple Swamphens are generally seasonal breeders, but the season varies across their large range, correlating with peak rainfall in many places, or summer in more temperate climes. The Purple Swamphen breeds in warm reed beds. The male has an elaborate courtship display, holding water weeds in his bill and bowing to the female with loud chuckles. In the western parts of the range the pattern of social behaviour tends to be monogamy, but cooperative breeding groups are more common in the eastern parts of the range. These groups may consist of multiple females and males sharing a nest or a male female pair with helpers drawn from previous clutches.
Pairs nest in a large pad of interwoven reed flags, etc., on a mass of floating debris or amongst matted reeds slightly above water level in swamps, clumps of rushes in paddocks or long unkempt grass. Multiple females may lay in the one nest and share the incubation duties. Each bird can lay 3–6 speckled eggs, pale yellowish stone to reddish buff, blotched and spotted with reddish brown. A communal nest may contain up to 12 eggs. The incubation period is 23–27 days, and is performed by both sexes as well as any helpers that might be present. The precocious chicks are feathered with downy black feathers and able to leave the nest soon after hatching, but will often remain in the nest for a few days. Young chicks are fed by their parents (and group members) for between 10–14 days, after which they begin to feed themselves.

Diet and feeding
The Purple Swamphen prefers wet areas with high rainfall, swamps, lake edges and damp pastures. The birds often live in pairs and larger communities. It clambers through the reeds, eating the tender shoots and vegetable-like matter. They have been known to eat eggs, ducklings, small fish and invertebrates such as snails. They have even been known to attack large eels, however there is no consensus amongst ornithologists if they actually eat eel. They will often use one foot to bring food to their mouth rather than eat it on the ground. Where they are not persecuted they can become tame and be readily seen in towns and cities.

Status and conservation
The species is considered to be Least Concern globally by the IUCN. While the species as a whole is not threatened, some subspecies have declined. In New Zealand and Australia it has expanded due to the creation of new artificial lakes and ponds, but the nominate race in the Mediterranean has declined due to habitat loss, hunting and pesticide use, and requires strict protection. In Portugal the species declined greatly in the 19th and 20th centuries, but has increased more recently thanks to protection and some reintroduction schemes, although it remains rare and has a fragmented distribution. In Africa it varies from being common to being uncommon. The subspecies endemic to Palau has been considered endangered as well, although a 2005 survey found that the subspecies, while potentially threatened, is at least now still common.

Source: Wikipedia

josediogo1958, Silvio2006, marius-secan, maaciejka, jlinaresp, anel, Marco2010, pegos, joaoedgar, Argus, Hussain58, vanda, Jakkals, Alex99, CeltickRanger has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To Alex99: wildlife shotPeterZ 1 03-07 04:58
Woodland KingfisherJakkals 1 03-06 10:59
To joaoedgar: Quinta do LagoPeterZ 1 03-04 06:23
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Critiques [Translate]

hallo Peter
Weer terug en natuurlijk met Foto,s uit Portugal
Deze is al meteen mooi met zoveel details en super kleuren
scherpte is ook super
bedankt groetjes lou

Hello Peter
Great capture of this "caimão". Wonderful colors and sharp details.Great eye contact.
Happy holidays in Portugal hey?Hope so.
Have a good weekend!
Kind regards

Ciao Peter, welcome back, grat capture of lovely bird with fantastic colors, fine details and splendid sharpness, I like a lot, have a good week end, my friend, ciao Silvio

Hello Peter,
Spectacular capture of a very nice bird. Great focus and very good clarity.
Wonderful contrast against the background.
It is a interesting species with natural colors and shinning feathers.

Impressive bird and beautiful photo Peter! The colours are fantastic. Impressive sharpness too!

Hello Peter
Really interesting photo of this bird.Very nice compozition with great details and lovely colours.
Have a nice weekend!

Hi Peter,
excellent portrait. Amazing colours. Great sharpness.
Have a nice Sunday,

Hello Peter,
When I was working bird ringing station I keep this bird
We ringing this one.
Really amazing bird.
Well done.
Good picture.

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2012-03-03 10:29]

Hello Peter,
You are back from your last travel to Portugal. You had an ideal Southern light to catch the fine metallic shine of the plumage of this Purple Swamphen. What concerns the composition I think that you might have avoided the underpart of the picture and may be concentared on the head of the bird. (just a suggestion of course)
Have a nice weekend

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2012-03-03 10:55]

Hello Peter.
The composition is fantastic, very artistic.The light is super!.The details , colors and sharpness of the Purple Swamphen are very beautiful.Best regards Siggi

Ciao Peter. Great contrast fantastic metallic colours. Excellente light too.


  • Great 
  • pegos Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 222 W: 0 N: 356] (1982)
  • [2012-03-03 13:11]

Splendid capture of this interesting bird, Peter!
Excellent sharpness and POV; beautiful light and nice eye contact. Well done!
Thanks for sharing

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6473 W: 89 N: 15608] (65291)
  • [2012-03-03 15:23]

Hi Peter,welcome back after your holidays.A magnificent first pic,nice specie and great capture,i like the excellent sharpness and the brilliant colors!Have a nice Sunday and thanks,Luciano

An excellent close-up of this lovely bird.
Good pose and eye contact. Nice detail and colours.
regards yiannis

Hi Peter,
beautiful picture with very good POV and composition.Lovely light and nice colours,

Hello my friend Peter,
Excellent capture of this very nice bird, on the Quinta do Lago, Algarve!!??. Great focus and very good clarity.
Have a nice sunday, João Edgar

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2012-03-04 6:38]

Hello Peter,
Welcome back!
Very nice capture of this Purple Swamphen. The features are well shown from a fine POV against the reed BG with nice sharpness and natural colours.
Thanks and best regards,

Hello Peter,

Hope your tour is going fine and you are well.Thanks a lot for having a look at my Indian Pond Heron photo. In return I am here and found this purple moorhen photo wonderful.The bird is standing in its typical habitat, the dried out stalk of elephant grass/cattail, looking splendid in that purple colour which contrasts so well with the red of feet and beak. Thanks for sharing this beautiful shot.....have a nice trip.....take care....warmest regards/Abid

  • Great 
  • vanda Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 338 W: 25 N: 754] (3673)
  • [2012-03-04 14:24]

Hi Peter!
Nice portrait of this blue bird (new for me).
Splendid brightness and nice reflections on the head. Perfect focus and great details.
Excellent DOF.
Very well done: congratulations.
ciao! vanda

Hallo Peter,
a very beautiful capture of the Purple Swamphen, superb sharpness, fantastic colours and lighting, marvedllous eye contact
Best regards

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2012-03-06 2:38]

Hello Peter,
another lovely hen shown in excellent sharpness and contrast. The brown grass in the background s a perfect background for the view.


Hello Peter,
A Beautiful capture with fantastic colours, sharpness and detail of the Purple Swamphen! Excellent, light balance, POV and shallow DOF my friend.
Best regards,
Good informative notes.

  • Great 
  • fiyo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1053 W: 5 N: 3475] (15161)
  • [2012-03-06 13:55]

Merhaba Peter,
çok güzel netlik ve pozlama ile çok güzel fotoğraf olmuş.
Tebrik ederim, selamlar..

nice portrait, greetings Ori

great presentation, all are wonderful, colors and details!
regards Peter

Hi Peter.
You have pictured a very attractive species. Reproduction of the feather, eye and beak colours are superb. Dry vegetation behind the bird is also fine as a BG. It is almost impossible to believe that it is wildlife shot. Many thanks and kind wishes.

Hello Peter

I have written a critique to this photo but
have lost in the last days, i will be brief,
what i have written the last time is that
« it is more easy to write it now that to
think at that moment, but you shouldn't
cut the bird's feet » the rest is perfect, TFS


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