The purple gallinule (Porphyrio martinicus, sometimes said as martinica) is a swamphen in the rail family, Rallidae. Also known locally as the yellow-legged gallinule. The specific name martinica denotes “of Martinique”
This is a medium-sized rail, measuring 26–37 cm (10–15 in) in length, spanning 50–61 cm (20–24 in) across the wings and weighing 141–305 g (5.0–10.8 oz). Males, averaging 257 g (9.1 oz) in mass, are slightly larger than females, at 215 g (7.6 oz) on average The adult purple gallinule has big yellow feet, purple-blue plumage with a green back, and red and yellow bill. It has a pale blue forehead shield and white undertail. Darkness or low light can dim the bright purple-blue plumage of the adult to make them look dusky or brownish, although the forehead shield color differentiates them from similar species such as common gallinules.
Juveniles are brown overall with a brownish olive back. These gallinules will fly short distances with dangling legs (See picture bellow!.
The species inhabits warm swamps and marshes in the southeastern states of the United States and the tropical regions of Central America, the Caribbean and northern South America. This species is resident in southern Florida and the tropics, but most North American birds are migratory, wintering south to Argentina.
The American Purple Gallinule is # 212 on my “Lifer” list.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Aves
- Order: Gruiformes
- Family: Rallidae
- Genus: Porphyrio
- Species: P. martinicus