Thursday, April 02, 2015

Purple Swamphen and others

The Purple Swamphen (gray-headed) is an exotic which probably escaped sometime in the 1990s and has since spread to many wetland areas in Florida. It has become sufficiently well established that in 2013 it was added to the American Birding Association's list of "countable" birds.

Purple Swamphen

A member of the Rail Family, it is closely related to the American Coot, Common Gallinule, and Purple Gallinule. A careless or casual look at the swamphen might lead one to ID it as a Purple Gallinule - one that has pumped up on steroids.

Purple Swamphen

For comparison, here is the Common Gallinule (aka Common Moorhen) and the American Coot ...

Common Gallinule
American Coot

I am concerned when captive birds escape; they can have a negative impact on native species. But I will say this for the Purple Swamphen, it has a very impressive tush ...

Purple Swamphen

Good Birding ! !

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