Purple Gallinules are awesome. And I am in the enviable position of having a surfeit of images of Porphyrio martinica to share. Such is the burden that a digiscoping bird blogger bears when he visits the Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland, Florida in January. Grant McCreary of The Birder’s Library, who shared the experience with me, probably has pretty much the same problem. What do you do with hundreds of picture of Purple Gallinules?  Well, I can’t speak for Grant but if you are me you put together a gallery of images of Purple Gallinules that threatens to melt the hard drives and faces of those who look at it.

Be warned. Continuing past this point might result in unfixable damage to your computer and to your face. Continuing on? Don’t say I didn’t warn you! If you want to wimp out and choose to either melt your face or your hard drive you can check out Mike’s series of shots of a gallinule on a wire.

Purple Gallinules live in marshes in the southeastern United States, Central America, northern South America, and the Caribbean. Most of them are year-round residents though much of the population in the United States – with the exception of south Florida birds – migrate south for the winter. Like many rails they often show up in unexpected places, even rarely being found as vagrants in western Europe! Don’t get too excited if you see a bird that looks like the one above in Europe though, as you are likely seeing Porphyrio porphyrio, or Purple Swamphen, the European facsimile of the American bird. Of course, you can see the European version in Florida too, as an introduced population has taken root and resisted eradication efforts.

Unfortunately, I have no pictures of Purple Swamphen so you will have to make do with just Purple Gallinules. I think that somehow you will manage to survive with just one species of beautifully colored, giant footed, candy-corn-nosed bird. The images in this post include both fully mature and first-year birds. You can tell the difference because the first-year birds have much less purple and green and much more golden-brown.


If you liked this post and want to see more great images of birds make sure to check out 10,000 Clicks, our big (and growing) page of galleries here at 10,000 Birds.

10,000 Birds is a Scrub Jay-level sponsor of the 15th Annual Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival.


Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.