<< Previous Next >>

Pukeko - New Zealand Swamphen

Pukeko - New Zealand Swamphen
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-12-29
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 1Ds MkII
Exposure: f/4.5, 1/320 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Gruiformes (Turnalar, Crane-like) [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-01-25 8:48
Viewed: 5982
Points: 34
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I had been looking for a good shot of a Pukeko and eventually spotted this one in a meadow by the road - screech of breaks, grab camera, click, click, click!

The Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio), also known as the African Purple Swamphen or Purple Moorhen or Purple Gallinule, is a large bird in the family Rallidae. From its name in French, talève sultane, it is also sometimes known as the Sultana Bird. It should not be confused with the American Purple Gallinule, Porphyrio martinica. The common name in New Zealand, used for P. p. melanotus is Pūkeko, and is derived from the Māori name for the species.

There are six or more subspecies of the Purple Swamphen, depending on the authority, which differ mainly in the plumage colours. The races are:

P. p. porphyrio in Europe
P. p. madagascariensis in Africa
P. p. poliocephalus in tropical Asia
P. p. melanotus in much of Australasia
P. p. indicus in Indonesia
P. p. pulverulentis in the Philippines.

According to the best authority on New Zealand Birds, the Heather and Robertson Field Guide, it seems to have become established in New Zealand about 1000 years ago but became abundant only several hundred years ago as forest was cleared.

Diet is a wide variety of swamp and pasture vegetation but also insects, frogs, small birds and eggs. They have prospered on farmland and are regarded as a pest for their damage to grain and vegetable crops.

eqshannon, Argus, fungiman, nglen, Juyona, CeltickRanger, Adanac, haraprasan, Janice, bobcat08 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 Janice: Time in NZJamesp 2 01-30 01:35
To pvs: Car behind meJamesp 1 01-25 10:16
You must be logged in to start a discussion.

Critiques [Translate]

hello james,
fine capture of the Pukeko, you got a good pose here, liked the pov and the composition, the dof is precise and the colours specially the green grass looks beautiful,
well done,
tfs & regards

Hi James,
Fine shot of this Swamphen. Super detail and nicely composed.
The bird looks like it is packing a pillow to rest on. :-)
TFS, Have a great weekend.

It is amazing how some of New zeal ans areas look so much like places I have here in the states. Not this bird mind you. It looks a bit like ac hicken...but black..or some such...a fine addition.....I hope my mind will clearly remember all of these places and new things you show me/us! Wonderful lesson at least for me James!

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-01-25 9:38]

Hello James,
We usually see images of Swamphens near water or on cut grass in parks, but this one of a NZ ssp in long grass is delightful. Great composition with fine contrast of the Pukeko against the meadow grasses in good lighting.
Thanks for sharing this one,

  • Great 
  • pvs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1127 W: 254 N: 3161] (14464)
  • [2008-01-25 10:11]
  • [+]

Hi James,

I hope you hadnt a car behind you,anyway your stop was worth the effort,a very nice capture of this pukeko in a grassy land,tfs


Hello James,
thank you for sharing this beautiful captured of the Pukeko!
good pov with superb sharpness, real colour and details
good composition with good notes

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-01-25 12:38]

Hi James. A fine shot of the Moorhen. good detail and colours showing the line of blue feathers from the blac with the white rear end. all set in the wild floers. well done TFS.

  • Great 
  • Juyona Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 2232 W: 10 N: 2971] (16891)
  • [2008-01-25 13:50]

Hola James,
precioso pov,
bello ambiente y excelente trabajo,
saludos amigo.

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-01-25 14:05]

Great shot James!
It looks like a big Moorhen! :)
Your low-down POV is very good and makes the viewer feel like they're really there watching it!
Very sharp (maybe a little over-sharp in places due to the slight halos around some of the edges) with impeccable detail and clarity.
Superb composition and pose.
Wonderful colours.
You must have enjoyed your trip to New Zealand!
Very well done once again James,

hello James

excellent luminosity on your image, excellent sharpness
and details of the subject, i love the POV of your image,
the way the bird is framed on the image and i love
the contrast between the subject's colours and the grass's colours



  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2008-01-25 18:31]

Hi James,
Excellent image my friend, look at the feet on that bird. It must do some lilypad walking. Fine camera work results in a sharp, well colored image, thanks James.

  • Great 
  • demeve Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 586 W: 12 N: 1682] (6165)
  • [2008-01-25 22:19]

Hello James,
Very nice picture, great colors and details
Beautiful composition and great POV.. Well done


Hi James,
A nice capture of this purple swamphen. Very well composed shot with fine details. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-01-26 2:11]

Hello James,
Last time I saw this beautiful bird was in a park in Sydney. It was quite shy but I got a few shots. It looks as if it is shy here too!I like this view showing the white tail nicely! Good focus and sharp details and the colours are lovely.
Many thanks, Ulla

Love the stepping action here...those frozen moments are always fascinating. Good stuff! :)

So this is the Caitlins Pukeko - we have MANY living up north and if you keep still you can often shoot them - with the camera. They are often killed running onto the road too - mad birds!
I hope you didn't run this one over...
How long are / were you in NZ James?

Hello James,

During my visit on NZ I saw many times this beautiful bird. But I could get him never well for the lens. Fine shot of this Swamphen. Real natural colours. POV, BG and DOF are good. Also a very good composition (here own enviroment) with good notes. Thanks for sharing. Regards and TFS BOB

Calibration Check