Photographing The Purple Swamphen

Gina Stephens
Written by Gina Stephens


With its affecting size and its beautiful purple-blue plumage, the purple swamphen and its 13 subspecies share an unmistakable look.



The purple swamphen is the largest rep of the rail family. At 48 centimeters in length, it is much bigger than the Eurasian Coot. It also has an unmistakable appearance. Its plumage is mainly unlit blue with a purple sheen, contrasting with the white undertail covert feathers. The extremely strong beak and frontal shield are brilliant red, as well as the large and long feet. During winter, the frontal shield gets a little paler. Juveniles have a rather gray plumage and their beaks, legs, and frontal screens are still grey-pink



In Europe, the purple swamphen is essentially found in Spain, Portugal, Mallorca, and Sardinia. Other populations and subspecies remain in the Near East & Northwest Africa, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, many Pacific islands, Australia and New Zealand.

Purple swamphen is the swamphen or swamp hen genus of birds in the rail family can be found in husky bodies of water such as lakes, lagoons, and estuaries. Wetlands with several small lakes can also form a good habitat. They requirement plenty of emergent vegetation like sedges and reeds.


Behavior and facts

Purple swamphen are poor fliers and usually prefer event. They are pretty good swimmers considering they lack webbed feet. Talking of feet they use theirs not only for running and swimming; swamphen repeatedly use their foot to lift their food from the ground to their beak, an unusual behaviour among birds.
They mainly wine on vegetable matter like tender shoots, plant bulbs and plant seeds. Swamphen also eat small prey like snails, fish, parsimonious birds, and lizards.

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During the breeding season, purple swamphen are very noisy. Their most recognizable call is similar to the sound of a lesser trumpet.
If a male manages to impress the female of its choice, they immediately start building the nest. They can either build it on a floating get of debris or near the shore, sheltered by reeds and other plants. Most females lay their eggs by the end of March. Hatchlings are rather precocious and are available to leave the nest after just a few days. They are initially fed by the parents but it doesn’t take long before they start looking for provisions by themselves.


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About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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