• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Purple Gallinule - BirdForum Opus

Disambiguation: For the species Porphyrio porphyrio, formerly often called Purple Gallinule, see Western Swamphen

Alternative names: American Purple Gallinule, Yellow-legged Gallinule

Porphyrio martinica

Porphyrula martinica


Length 27-36 cm (10½-14¼ in), wingspan 50-55 cm, weight 140-300 g
Red bill with yellow tip, head and underparts deep violet-purple, back bronzy green, pale blue forehead shield, and white band on the flanks. The legs are yellow, very conspicuous in flight.

Immatures are drab brown, dark above and pale below; no side stripe; dark bill.

Photo by dacol
Sweetwater Wetlands Park, Gainesville, Florida, USA, August 2016


Southeastern USA to northern Argentina; also found in the West Indies.


This is a monotypic species[1].

The South Georgia Gallinule, once described as an independent species Porphyrula georgica, was later shown to just be an aberrant Purple Gallinule, and as such is an invalid taxon, now considered synonymous with Porphyrio martinica3.


Lives in freshwater swamps, marshes, and ponds.


Photo by Stanley Jones
Gamboa, Coclé Province, Panama, December 2017

Swims, wades, and climbs bushes. When walking, it flirts white undertail coverts; when swimming, pumps head.


Their diet mostly consists of a variety of plants, such as sedges, cheickweed, water lilies, willow, fruit, grass and sedge seeds.


Call: a henlike cackling "kek, kek, kek" given while flying; also guttural notes.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Meyer de Schauensee, Rodolphe. 1966. The Species of Birds of South America and Their Distribution. Narberth, PA: Academy of Natural Sciences.
  4. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved August 2016)

Recommended Citation

External Links