Fun Purple Swamphen Facts For Kids

Aashita Dhingra
Oct 20, 2022 By Aashita Dhingra
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Amazing purple swamphen facts which are informative and fun.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.5 Min

The purple swamphen birds are also called purple swamphen Porphyrio, in French, they are called taleve sultana or sultana birds are purple in color. These species are chicken-sized birds. However, they have large feet and long toes. They have bright purple plumage and a red bill. They are found in the marshes and wetlands of Spain, Portugal, southeastern France, Italy, and northwestern Africa (Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia). The purple swamphen makes various calls and sounds of bleating and hooting, which are loud. They are noisy during the breeding season and make loud calls. They are clumsy in flight yet they can fly long distances and are good swimmers, especially when they do not have webbed feet. Their diet consists of feeding on reeds and rushes, along with small insects and fish.

Purple swamphens were kept in captivity in ancient Greece and Rome as decorative bird species for their purple-blue-colored long legs and orange-red beak. Its largest population is in Spain. It was earlier listed as 'Rare' by the European Union and then delisted as 'Localized'. The purple swamphen species saw a decline in its population during the first half of the 20th century due to hunting and loss of habitats. New Zealand and Australia have Australasian swamphens. The sub-Saharan areas of Africa have African swamphens.

For more relatable content, check out these oak titmouse facts and grey heron facts for kids.

Purple Swamphen Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a purple swamphen?

The purple swamphen is a bird from Spain and the northern part of Africa, and it is a type of waterbird species. It belongs to the rail members of the family Rallidae.

What class of animal does a purple swamphen belong to?

The purple swamphen belongs to the class of Aves.

How many purple swamphens are there in the world?

The total population of purple swamphens around the world is unknown.

Where does a purple swamphen live?

Purple swamphens are large rails and live in wetlands, swamps, vegetation, and marshes, mainly in Spain, northern areas of Portugal, France, Florida, Northwestern Africa, Australia, New Zealand, south Alabama, sub-Saharan areas, North America, New Guinea, and Asia feeding on small animals and reeds as their diet.

What is a purple swamphen's habitat?

Throughout their life, purple swamphens prefer to inhabit areas with wetlands, swamps, marshes, and vegetation. They prefer feeding on reeds and rushes. Groups of this species are mainly found in small groups that consist of more males than females.

Who do purple swamphens live with?

These birds generally live, travel and hunt in small groups and they breed in solitary pairs. They live in groups of 3-12 birds which acts as their shield.

How long does a purple swamphen live?

Purple swamphens generally have a lifespan of around eight years.

How do they reproduce?

These birds are known to be monogamous in nature. However, in some cases, females mate with more than one purple swamphen male. Breeding can take place any time of the year but mainly occurs from July to December. The female purple swamphens lay around three to six eggs in its nest.  The family members of these purple gallinule, the young from previous breeding, share in incubation and care of the young. The males do not help throughout the incubation period as the females mate with several males. The nest consists of a platform of trampled reeds and vegetation, which sometimes, have been used to form a shelter. Generally, two young ones are raised in a year in a nest made of reeds and shoots by the family members. The purple swamphen chick is ready to leave the nest and live independently after about two or three days of hatching. They start roaming in the islands or marshes in search of food.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of this bird is of Least Concern, as their population is ongoing and stable. Earlier, they were listed as rare birds because of overhunting and habitat loss but now are delisted from Rare to Least Concern.

Purple Swamphen Fun Facts

What do purple swamphens look like?

The purple swamphen is a large rail. It is mainly dusky black on top with a broad dark blue collar and has a plumage which is of dark blue to purple coloration. Their feathers make them look beautiful. They shed their feathers in between like other birds. When it walks, it flicks its tail up and down, revealing its white under-tail. The bill is red and robust, and the legs and feet are orange-red. For such a bulky bird, the swamphen is an accomplished flier and will readily take to the air to escape danger. Throughout their flight, the long legs and elongated toes trail behind or hang underneath the body. Purple swamphens are good swimmers but like to tread on the edges of the water, among reeds, and on vegetation.

Purple Swamphen walking in marsh

How cute are they?

They are immensely cute with their blue, purple-blue, orange-red, and gray-blue colors. They look extremely beautiful.

How do they communicate?

This range of species and their subspecies make sweaty loud calls, bleating, and hooting in search of mate, the group, or in search of food or in search of fresh water.

How big is a purple swamphen?

Purple swamphens have a body size range of around 20 in (51 cm), which is 20 times bigger than Laysan rail.

How fast can a purple swamphen move?

The definite speed of this bird is unknown, but it is believed that they move at the same speed as that of cranes.

How much does a purple swamphen weigh?

They weigh around 27 oz (770 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no separate names to describe the male and female of this bird.

What would you call a baby purple swamphen?

Baby purple swamphen is called a chick or young.

What do they eat?

These birds eat eggs, reeds, ducklings, frogs, snails, etc. The purple swamphen and its subspecies use their long toes to grasp food while eating. They prefer to forage food and reside near freshwater.

Are they poisonous?

No, they are not poisonous birds.

Would they make a good pet?

Purple swamphens for sale are displayed on various websites. They can be bought and kept as a pet. They make a great pet. The chicks can be adopted through references once the adults lay eggs and hatch them. They prefer freshwater as their natural habitat and otherwise in nature live in long rail which acts as their shield.

Did you know...

Pukekos from Australia and other Porphyrio subspecies are famous egg stealers.

How did the purple swamphen get its name?

Their coloration and nature of inhabiting swamps areas is the reference for its name.

Are purple swamphens endangered?

In most places, these birds are of Least Concern, and not endangered. However, they were earlier listed as rare birds because of overhunting and habitat loss but now are delisted from being rare.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Senegal parrot facts and great potoo facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable purple swamphen coloring pages.

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Written by Aashita Dhingra

Bachelors in Business Administration

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Aashita DhingraBachelors in Business Administration

Based in Lucknow, India, Aashita is a skilled content creator with experience crafting study guides for high school-aged kids. Her education includes a degree in Business Administration from St. Mary's Convent Inter College, which she leverages to bring a unique perspective to her work. Aashita's passion for writing and education is evident in her ability to craft engaging content.

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