Purple Swamphens are large hen-like birds that live near water, often amongst reeds, including public parks with ponds. They occur over most of the world, except the Americas, and about 13 subspecies have been recognised. They often nest communally amongst matted reeds above water level in swamps, clumps of rushes in paddocks or long unkempt grass.
Each bird lays 3 to 6 buff-coloured eggs, blotched and spotted with reddish brown. A nest may contain up to 12 eggs. Incubation is performed by both sexes as well as any helpers that might be present. They eat mainly the tender shoots of reeds, but will also take eggs, ducklings, snails etc. Their call is a screeching squawk.
Size: 44 - 48 cm
Photo: Trevor Pescott, Illustration: Mrk Trinham