African Swamphen

Porphyrio madagascariensis

The African Swamphen is a shy, skulking inhabitant of dense reedbeds along slow flowing rivers, marshes, swamps and temporary wetlands where they feed mainly on aquatic plants, insects and other invertebrates, fish, frogs and eggs. They are usually seen singly but may be encountered in small family groups from time to time. African Swamphens breed at any time of year, though there is a distinct peak in the summer months. Their nests are large and built of and among reeds. Clutches contain between 2 and 5 eggs, are incubated by both parents and hatch after about 3 weeks. Both parents care for the chicks, which fledge at about two months old.

Adults are around 42cm long, weigh approximately 600g and are by far the biggest members of the rail family occurring in South Africa.

In South Africa, the African Swamphen, or Purple Gallinule as it was previously known, is distributed very patchily on the highveld and along the eastern and southern coastlines. Some authorities consider the African Swamphen to be a subspecies of the Purple Swamphen (P. porphyrio)ย which has a wide distribution over Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia), and is listed as being of least concern by the IUCN.


31 thoughts on “African Swamphen

  1. John

    Now after hours and days of thinking I remind the name the bird look like, the moorhen! (common moorhen) Well, I haven’t been sleepless but I have thought about the name so much. I have shoot it couple of times and it’s quite common here. When I got something in my head I have hard to let it go!๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

    Liked by 2 people

  2. travel460

    Dit is skokkend droog in die wildtuin, de Wet. Ek en Bertus kan nie glo wat ons oรซ sien nie. Waar is die seekoeie en krokodille heen? Die water is amper alles weg. Ons sien wel honderde koedoes en zebras, baie klipspringers, steenbokkies, gompoue en selfs ล„ vaalboskat, maar bitter min olifante.


    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      November is ongelukkig die droogste deel van die jaar in die Laeveld – nou is die veld oop en kaal en mens sien baie diere wat jy nie gewoonlik sal sien nie, soos vaalboskatte!, en partykeer voel dit of elke watergat n trop leeus het wat wag om die dorstige troppe wild aan te val.
      Die olifante behoort nou langs die oorblywende waterbronne gekonsentreer te wees – riviere soos die Shingwedzi en Letaba in die mopanieveld van die Noorde is nou die plek om vir hulle in hul hordes uit te kyk.
      Die seekoeie het sleg deurgeloop in die droogte van so 2-4 jaar terug en hul bevolkings het nog nie herstel nie.
      Julle moet tog weer hier in Maart of April gaan kyk hoe die veld geil staan teen die einde van die reenseisoen – ek hoop ons het n goeie een!



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