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Purple Gallinule

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Purple Gallinules are generally found walking through the brush or over vegetation at the edge of ponds and streams. Their long toes – which are attached to long, yellow legs – make it easy for them to stand on roots, stems and lily pads. Preferring to walk, they rarely float on the water.

Purple Gallinule
PORPHYRULA MARTINICA
• Length: 13 inches
• Wingspan: 22 inches
• Season: Summer
More about Purple Gallinules.
Where they are, and when.

They are similar in general appearance, though much more colorful, than the Common Moorhen. Their plumage is green on the back and a deep iridescent blue on their chest and head; they have a pale blue forehead, a red bill with a yellow tip and a bright white plume under their tail.

Purple Gallinules migrate to East Texas and the Gulf Coast after wintering in Central America, but are permanent residents of South America’s tropical marshes. They eat seeds, frogs and aquatic insects.

Their courtship is a dance of bobbing and swaying. They nest in platforms suspended on plant stems or floating in marsh vegetation. Their five to 10 eggs are buff with brown spots, and the young may stick around to help raise subsequent broods.

Purple Gallinules forage out in the open, but when threatened, despite their bright colors they can hide quickly in dense reeds or other vegetation.

About Scott Clark

I’m a digital journalist who’s worked as a photographer, reporter, producer and editor. My interest in the natural history of my surroundings reaches back to my early days beachcombing on the Jersey coast, rowing my boat on a quiet lake in Missouri and, more recently, discovering the mountains and backwoods of Montana, where I was born.

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