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Australasian Swamphen

From Opus

Adult P. m. melanotusPhoto © by NeilSydney, Australia
Adult P. m. melanotus
Photo © by Neil
Sydney, Australia
Porphyrio melanotus

Contents

[edit] Identification

ImmaturePhoto © by julienBallarat, Lake Wendouree, Victoria, Australia, February 2005
Immature
Photo © by julien
Ballarat, Lake Wendouree, Victoria, Australia, February 2005

38–50 cm (15-19¾ in)

  • Red bill and frontal shield
  • Orange legs and feet
  • Long, slim toes.
  • Black back and head
  • Eyes are red

Females are smaller than males. Juveniles are similar to adults but duller, with black eyes and black bill and shield that turn to red around 3 months of age.

[edit] Similar Species

Rare Takahe is about twice the size (in weight) and flightless, with a green back and wing cover. Juveniles may be confused with the Spotless Crake which lacks a frontal shield and has a more slender bill. Dusky Moorhen is more likely to be seen swimming, and is smaller and greyer with a yellow tip to its red bill, and a dark centre to its white undertail. Black-tailed Native Hen is much smaller with a green-and-orange bill, white spots on its flanks and a longer black tail.

[edit] Distribution

Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, Moluccas and Lesser Sundas, New Caledonia, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Fiji.

[edit] Taxonomy

Formerly considered conspecific with African Swamphen, Grey-headed Swamphen, Black-backed Swamphen, Philippine Swamphen and Western Swamphen under the name Purple Swamphen.

ChickPhoto © by julienBallarat, Victoria, Australia, November 2007
Chick
Photo © by julien
Ballarat, Victoria, Australia, November 2007

[edit] Subspecies

Five subspecies recognized:

  • P. m. pelewensis:
  • Palau Islands (Koror and Anguar)
  • P. m. melanopterus:
  • P. m. bellus:
  • P. m. melanotus:
  • P. m. samoensis:

[edit] Habitat

Reed beds and wet areas with high rainfall, swamps, lake edges and damp pastures.

[edit] Behaviour

The birds live in pairs and larger communities.

Photo © by fthsmOlympic Park, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, October 2008
Photo © by fthsm
Olympic Park, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, October 2008

[edit] Breeding

The birds make a nest of woven reeds on floating debris or amongst reeds. More than one female will use the nest and they share incubating the eggs for 24 days. Each bird lays 3-6 speckled eggs and the nest can contain up to 12 eggs.

[edit] Diet

Diet includes tender shoots and vegetable-like matter, invertebrates (like snails), small fish, and eggs from nests and also eat ducklings. It is a good swimmer, especially for a bird without webbed feet.

[edit] Vocalisations

Territorial ‘crowing’ is the loudest and most commonly heard call. A variety of contact calls including ‘’n’yip’, ‘hiccup’ and ‘squawk.’

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Trewick, S.A. 1997. "Flightlessness and phylogeny amongst endemic rails (Aves: Rallidae) of the New Zealand region." Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. (352) 429-46.
  3. Sangster, G. 1998. "Purple Swamp-hen is a complex of species." Dutch Birding (20) 13-22.
  4. Gill, F & D Donsker (Eds). 2018. IOC World Bird List (v8.2). doi : 10.14344/IOC.ML.8.2. Available at http://www.worldbirdnames.org/
  5. Wikipedia
  6. Absolute Astronomy
  7. Dey, C.; Jamieson, I. 2013. Pukeko. In Miskelly, C.M. (ed.) New Zealand Birds Online. http://www.nzbirdsonline.org.nz
  8. Garcia-R, J. C. & Trewick, S. A. 2015. Dispersal and speciation in purple swamphens (Rallidae: Porphyrio). Auk 132(1): 140-155. PDF
  9. Marchant, S.; Higgins, P.J. (eds) 1993. Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic birds. Vol. 2, raptors to lapwings. Oxford University Press, Melbourne.
  10. Ripley, S. D., Lansdowne, J. F. & Olson S. L. (1977) Rails of the world: a monograph of the family Rallidae. Godine.
  11. Taylor, B. (2017). Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from http://www.hbw.com/node/53681 on 28 March 2017).

[edit] External Links



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