Category Archives: Swamphen

Purple Swamphens tending a nest

A pair of Purple Swamphens busily tends a nest. This video shows the changing of the guard, as one parent arrives to relieve the other from nest duties.

Sometime later, the bird on the nest had been calling for some time, perhaps growing lonely or bird. The roaming parent suddenly started flapping its wings and making a big fuss about approaching the nest. But then it veered away and continued foraging, apparently not yet ready to resume nest sitting.

I don’t know if there are eggs in the nest yet, though the way the bird moves around in the second half of the video makes me think it’s carefully positioning itself over an egg or two.

Common name: Purple Swamphen

Scientific name: Porphyrio porphyrio

Approximate length: 50 cm

Date spotted: 29 January 2017

Season: Summer

Location: Manly Dam Reserve, New South Wales, Australia: 33°46’35.4″S 151°14’49.1″E

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Purple Swamphen chick

So cute and fluffy! This little Purple Swamphen chick treads lightly on the lily pads, learning survival skills from its mother.

Here’s a nice shot of its stubby wings, and its well-developed feet under a couple of centimetres of water:

Purple Swamphen chick

Setting off on a bit of exploration:

Purple Swamphen chick

But staying close to mother:

Purple Swamphen chick

Common name: Purple Swamphen

Scientific name: Porphyrio porphyrio

Approximate length: 50 cm

Date spotted: 30 October 2016

Season: Spring

Location: Manly Dam Reserve, New South Wales, Australia

Latitude/longitude: 33°46’36.1″S 151°14’48.8″E

Purple Swamphens playing coy

The first sight of the Purple Swamphens in this video is their unique tracks in the sand. Then we hear a peeping and a squawking and a bit of a kerfuffle behind the reeds. A bird emerges for a quick appearance, before going back to the more interesting companionship of its fellows. A few minutes later, I came across another pair of birds out in the open, and filmed them too. Notice their big feet as they walk across the lily pads.

Common name: Purple Swamphen

Scientific name: Porphyrio porphyrio

Approximate length: 50 cm

Date spotted: 6 March 2016

Season: Late summer

Location: Manly Dam Reserve, New South Wales, Australia

Latitude/longitude: 33°46’26.6″S 151°14’44.3″E

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