Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Wild Bird Wednesday 281 - Purple / Australasian Swamphen

A few weeks ago I arrived at a new nature reserve, just in time for it to be closed because of the high winds created a danger of falling branches!  I was not best pleased!

So, I set up on the edge of a field where some Purple / Australasian Swamphens were wandering about.  This species of bird has undergone a bit of a taxonomic review of late, and is not considered a full species and goes by the name of Porphyrio melanotus. Most of my books were printed before this change occurred!

Anyway - these are rather large and good value!  And I think that they look rather prehistoric.  I may be well off the mark here, but I suspect that they would make a decent model of some of the huge prehistoric birds that used to roam about and generally be rather frightening!  However, as you can see these birds just eat grass!








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21 comments:

Margaret Adamson said...

Stewart NO images are there to [;oad onto your meme so i could not link in and am going out now so when u r there, can you link me in please

NatureFootstep said...

interesting thoughts of the swamphen but I think I agree. I liked to watch this hen when I was in Queensland :)

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

look a lot like our swamp hens :)

Marie Smith said...

Such unusual beaks and long claws!

Kenneth Cole Schneider said...

Here in south Florida, in the 1990s, an aviculturist who lived only about a mile away from our present home allowed some captive exotic Purple Swamphens to stray. They have since colonized nearly the entire Florida peninsula. Several years ago an eradication campaign killed over 3,000 but was entirely ineffective. The birds were persecuted because they tear up swamp vegetation, especially Spikerush in order to eat their roots. They are aggressive and it was feared they wouold eat the eggs of native marsh birds. As to nomenclature, the American Birding Association still calls them "Purple" but the Cornell Lab of Ornithology eBird listing program names them "Gray-headed" Swamphens. There seems to be a mix of the newly designated subspecies.

Andrea Priebe said...

They are a cute/ugly bird and interesting to watch with their big feet and long legs. There is no way to tell exactly how big they actually are since there is no point of reference, but I agree blown up to super human size they would be quite terrifying. According to your previous commenter, they are more destructive than just eating grass ... though I have to say I don't like the idea of eradicating anything. Wisconsin tried to eradicate the Mute Swan because it was not native ... really???Gather them up and move them somewhere or something more humane. Anyway I am glad you did get some pictures and hope the wind died down so you could explore the rest of the preserve. Enough said, I guess ... how are the kitties doing?

Andrea @ From the Sol

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
I like 'em! Cute, in a rough-and-ready way! YAM xx

Brian King said...

They do have a prehistoric look to them. The red is a nice touch of bright color!

David Gascoigne said...

As far as I can recall the taxonomic change happened some time ago. I will look forward to renewing my acquaintance with this species next year.

Nora said...

What a weird and wonderful bird!! I really like them. They look prehistoric. Wonderful photos!

Tony McGurk said...

I've seen these birds before Stewart but didn't know what they were called. I've learned something new today.

Phil Slade said...

Like huge Moorhens and probably twice as vicious towards bird ringers. Those feet can do serious damage. Thanks for the link up Stewart.

Jo said...

Hi Stewart, I'm back and posting about birds again. Thanks for hosting this meme. Love the photos of your swamphens. They do look prehistoric. Greetings Jo

Lea said...

They do look fierce!
Hope you are having a beautiful week!

Missy George said...

I see the prehistoric connection, the purple, not so much..I wouldn't want to tangle with those feet..

A Colorful World said...

The swamphens DO look prehistoric! Great photos. Hope all is well with you!

photodoug said...

Stewart, face resembles the common gallinule. Thanks for sharing.

Mary Cromer said...

Hi Stewart...I am trying to play catch up as best I can. I share on FB so I can keep up with my family and keep them knowing how things are on home front, but have trouble staying on task beyond that. These birds are such cool looking chaps... I think they have them in Florida, or at least they do look like them. Have a great weekend~

Linda said...

Neat looking birds!

Gayle said...

I like the two photos where there seems to be in race in progress and the one on the left attempts a pass.

koi seo said...

What a weird and wonderful bird!! I really like them. They look prehistoric. Wonderful photos!

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