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Pukeko, Swamp Hen

Pukeko, Swamp Hen
Photo Information
Copyright: Janice Dunn (Janice) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-11-25
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 30d, Canon 70-300mm DO IS USM
Exposure: f/8, 1/80 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): New Zealand Native Fauna and Flora (2) [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-01-28 20:07
Viewed: 7442
Points: 32
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Porphyrio porphyrio melanotus /Swamp Hen
Other names: Purple Gallinule, Purple Swamphen

In NZ, Pukekos are suicidal and are often seen on the side of the road, dithering, darting backwards and forwards, looking for an opportunity to cross the road. And later when you come back you see them squashed on the road. They seem to have no road sense at all.

The ornithologist, WRB Oliver said,
"The Pukeko is a bold and fearless bird.
It has learned that trains and motorcars are harmless
and takes no notice of them."

The pukeko is deep almost iridescent indigo blue with a black head and upperparts. The white undertail is flicked with every step. The bill and shield are scarlet, the eye red and the legs and feet are orange – red. The call is a loud unmusical screech and also a subdued musical ‘tuk – tuk’.

Pukeko mainly feed on swamp and pasture vegetation. Also insects, spiders, frogs, small birds and eggs. Shoots are held in the foot like a parrot and stripped or macerate by the powerful bill. I saw this happening today too.


rkailas, rcrick, Jamesp, fiyo, uleko, degani, TAZ, boreocypriensis, marhowie has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To azleader: GirlfriendJanice 2 02-01 13:33
To uleko: Very common up hereJanice 1 01-29 11:39
To rcrick: Yes, the sameJanice 1 01-29 02:13
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Janice

Excellent potrait of this swamphen! Nice catchlight, colors and details.


Very good and sharply detailed image of this bird. Strong view of it in its natural habitat.

Personal Note:
I don't know if there are any Swamp Hens in the Pacific Northwest...

But if there are then I want to make it perfectly clear right here and now that none of those Swamp Hens are girlfriends of mine. (OK, bad joke. :) )

  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2008-01-28 23:34]

Hi Janice

Lovely shot of the Pukeko - great colours and pose. I had great difficulty getting close enough to get a shot of one - but eventually managed it in the Catlins.


Excelente enfoque y colores.
Abrazo Janice:
J. Ignasi

Dear Janice,
Great shot of this Pukekos, they look just like our Dusky Moorhens, excellent detail in the plumage, love the POV and the water backdrop works very well, for some reason the smiley icons have disappeared so please except this one in its place :o) hopefully I'll return with the little green face when my work PC is rebooted or destroyed which ever come first, all the best Cheers Rick :)

  • Great 
  • fiyo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1053 W: 5 N: 3475] (15161)
  • [2008-01-29 2:31]

Hello Janice,
beautiful picture with very good POV and composition.Lovely light and nice colours,TFS

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-01-29 3:30]
  • [+]

Hello Janice,
Splendid capture showing the beautiful shiny plumage of the Pukeko. I captured this in Australia but not as well as you've done. I like its pose and the sharp profile here. It's a beautiful bird! So they must be very common in New Zealand?
Many thanks, Ulla

Hi Janice,
Now, this is a strange bird... I didn't know that some animals could be suicidal... How come they have not understood with time? Seems to me that evolution could have made them learned that cars are dangerous, I'm speechless... Maybe it'll take more time, if this bird still exists... Anyway, this is a nice capture with superb details, good colors, exposure and composition. I'm so surprised by those notes. Thanks, this is very interesting.

Gorgeous capture! Wonderful detail and colors. Kudos, Janice! Cheers, Klaus

  • Great 
  • degani Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 130 W: 0 N: 322] (2607)
  • [2008-01-29 12:20]

Hi Janice,
this is a very nice picture of a nice bird with beautiful colours, really a great job

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2008-01-29 12:22]

Very nice pic of this incredible bord,i like a lot the sharpness of face,the red is impressive,thanks for share,Luciano

  • Great 
  • TAZ Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2241 W: 47 N: 3167] (10926)
  • [2008-01-29 23:07]

Hello dear Janice,
Thanks for the picture of Annecy and young family in my workshop, it is kind of you ;-)
Congratulations for this beautiful and well detailed photo.
Note : Friday I will go for 3 days at Venice in Italia for its very famous carnival. It is not Nature but it is also beautiful for eyes :-) My Fujifilm S6500 is impatient ;-)

Hi Janice,
Wonderfull capture! I have never seen this sp. before! Its beak is very interesting! TFS friend.

  • Great 
  • jossim Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1538 W: 5 N: 2240] (12636)
  • [2008-02-01 3:56]

Bonjour Janice,

Bravo pour cette belle prise. L'oiseau est superbe et les détails sont extras.
Merci pour le partage.

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-02-02 21:53]

Hello Janice

These are beautiful swamp birds.They have lovely plumage colours.It is sad to hear they are not street savvy.
The lighting is well handled.Excellent feather definition.
I like the composition.
Very good POV.

Hi Janice,
The Swamp Hen according to Mr. Oliver is bold & fearless eh?
I would venture to say it's more likely just acting out the "bird brained" thing!
You've exposed this very well, with the subtle iridescence coming through nicely, great detail and DOF mf..And what better BG than swamp for a Swamp Hen? ;}
Well done!

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