Category Archives: Moorhen

Swamphens and Moorhens at Manly Dam

Purple Swamphens and Dusky Moorhens look similar, but are quite easy to tell apart once you’ve seen them together. Purple Swamphens are altogether showier: bigger, with brighter colours, and a more confident way of tackling the world. Dusky moorhens are smaller, and move in short dashes, accompanied by a lot of jerking of the head and tail. They almost seem to apologise for their presence. The Purple Swamphen’s beak is entirely red, whereas the Dusky Moorhen has a yellow tip to its beak.

I spotted both birds on the same patch of water at Manly Dam. First, a Purple Swamphen:

Here’s a close-up of those amazing feet, shot when the bird obligingly came up on shore close by me:

Purple Swamphen

Common name: Purple Swamphen

Scientific name: Porphyrio porphyrio

Approximate length: 50 cm

Date spotted: 29 December 2013

Season: Summer

Location: Manly Dam Reserve, New South Wales, Australia

Latitude/longitude: -33.776626,151.246762

Next, a Dusky Moorhen:

Here’s a nice still of the moorhen sharing the shot with a water lily:

Dusky Moorhen

Common name: Dusky Moorhen

Scientific name: Gallinula tenebrosa

Approximate length: 40 cm

Date spotted: 29 December 2013

Season: Summer

Location: Manly Dam Reserve, New South Wales, Australia

Latitude/longitude: -33.776626,151.246762