Daily Archives: December 20, 2017

Purple Swamphen

Purple Swamphen, edge of the Tagus Esturary, Portugal

The Purple Swamphen is not an uncommon bird in Europe, or even Portugal…it is just that its range is both isolated and restricted. I think it has mostly to do with its habitat needs. It needs marshy pools with reeds, not too tall and not too short…just prefect for clambering around a foot or three off the water. That is where we first saw this bird…well up in the broken reeds. This bird frequents a small pond on private land that Birds and Nature Tours Portugal has access to, just on the firm edge of the Tagus Estuary, along a fresh water stream, in the middle of a Cork Oak grove. This was a distant shot, from the other side of the pond and the pond’s width up on a hillside, but the Swamphen is not easy to see, and this is one spot where it can be seen regularly. If you noticed the resemblance to our North American Purple Gallinule then you are not far off. The Swamphen is larger and generally darker, but very similar in appearance. There is even an escaped population of Purple Swamphen coexisting with our own Purple Gallinules in south Florida. Because of the extreme crop needed, I enlarged this image in BigPhoto before cropping, and then processed it in Photoshop Express. It will still pretty much fall apart if you attempt to enlarge it, but at posting size it at least gives a good impression of the bird in its habitat. Sony RX10iv at 600mm. 1/250th @ ISO 320 @ f4. Processed as above.