The Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio) is an uncommon member of the Rail family of birds. There are approximately 13 sub-species, including the African Purple Swamphen, which are featured in these images. All of which were taken in Nairobi National Park in Kenya.
It is a chicken sized bird, which makes a loud bleating and hooting call, quite unlike any other bird and is very noisy during the breeding season. Despite its clumsy appearance, it can fly long distances, and is a good swimmer, despite not having webbed feet.
They live either in pairs or communual groups, making nests and living amongst tall reed beds. They eat new shoots and grasses, often holding the vegetation in one ungainly claw and pulling pieces off with their beaks.
Laying between 3 - 6 speckled eggs, both sexes (and other helpers) incubate the eggs. On hatching, the chicks often leave the nest within hours, returning to sleep. After a couple of weeks, the chicks are entirely independent and feed themselves.
During times of The Roman Empire, Purple Swamphens were kept as pets by the more wealthy. They were thought of as noble, decorative birds and never eaten.

Categories & Keywords
Subcategory Detail:
Keywords:african purple swamphen, bird, kenya, purple swamphen, swamphen, wildlife

Purple Swamphen ~ Eating

Purple Swamphen, foot raised, eating grass seed.

Purple Swamphen ~ Claw

Purple Swamphen, foot holding grass to beak.

Purple Swamphen ~ Holding Grass

Purple Swamphen, foot raised to beak, eating grass seed.