<< Previous Next >>

Purple Swamp Hen

Purple Swamp Hen
Photo Information
Copyright: Murray Lines (mlines) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 556 W: 26 N: 668] (3116)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-03-02
Categories: Birds
Camera: Sony Cybershot
Exposure: f/4, 1/100 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-03-01 20:09
Viewed: 4073
Points: 10
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Swamp Hen (Porphyrio porphyrio) looking for food not far from the Sydney Olympic Stadium, which has been created into a natural reserve. The Swamp Hen has wide feet for walking on weeds and a short beak for grabbing leaves and slugs.

This large rail (44 - 48 cm) is unmistakable. The Purple Swamphen 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. The call is also distinctive: a loud, penetrating 'kee-ow', as well as some softer clucking between members of a group while feeding. 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.

Distribution and Habitat
The Purple Swamphen is found around freshwater swamps, streams and marshes, and is common throughout eastern and northern Australia, with an isolated population 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.

Food and feeding
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.

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.

boreocypriensis, darwin, Alex99, JPlumb, pierrefonds has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.
Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
Only registered TrekNature members may write critiques.
ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To JPlumb: Close to the Armory areamlines 1 03-03 01:39
You must be logged in to start a discussion.

Critiques [Translate]

Hi Murray,
A perfect and lovely composition of this beutifully coloured capture my friend! Excelent composition, nice colours and sharpnes!
TFS and Regards,


Hi Murray
Nice capture of this swamp hen in his natural environment. fine detail and natural color
tfs jon

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2008-03-02 8:06]

Hi Murray.
Excellent picture with great sharpness and details. I like colorful and perfectly reproduced image of very nice bird also as well as the attractive scenery full of dry leaves, fresh green vegetation. Well done and TFS.

Hi Murray, awesome shot of this Swamp Hen. The colour is very good, with great detail, with excellent detail seen on his very unique foot.

Now this for me is exciting. I haven't seen one of these guys yet, and you tell me they're within just a few miles, a short ferry trip away? This is shaping up into a mission. So if I was to go to the Olympic Stadium, what would they be close to?

Thanks, John

Hi Murray,

The Swamp Hen is colorful, she does not seem to be disturbed =by the presence of the photographer. The point of view is showing the details and colors of the bird. The subject is well framed. Have a nice day.


Calibration Check