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Purple Gallinule

Porphyrula martinica

Length: 14 inches Wingspan: 17 inches Seasonality: Extremely Rare Visitor
ID Keys: Dark purplish and greenish body, red and yellow bill with light blue shield on forehead

Purple Gallinule - Porphyrula martinicaThe Purple Gallinule is primarily a bird of the extreme southeastern U.S. and the tropics of Central and South America.  However, individual birds have been known to occasionally wander long distances, including many records of birds crossing the Atlantic.  It is still an extremely rare visitor to South Dakota, however.

Habitat: Found in large, densely vegetated wetlands with still or very slowly moving water.  Prefers areas with floating vegetation such as lily pads.

Diet: Eats a wide variety of plant and animal matter, including leaves, seeds, fruits, berries, insects, fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and small amphibians.

Behavior: Uses a wide variety of foraging methodologies.  They will wade through shallow water, swim, walk on land, or clamber through wetland vegetation in search of food.

Breeding: Non-breeder in South Dakota

Song: Variety of whining and clucking notes.

Migration: Summers in much of the extreme Southeastern U.S. through eastern Texas.  Winters mainly in Florida in the U.S., as well as Mexico and Central America.  

Interactive eBird Map: Click here to access an interactive eBird map of Purple Gallinule sightings

Similar Species: Common Gallinulle, American Coot

Conservation Status: While still common in many areas, numbers have declined locally as habitat has been destroyed.

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Purple Gallinule

2) Cornell University's "All About Birds - Purple Gallinule"

3) Audubon Guide - Purple Gallinule

Photo Information: February, 2006 - Everglades National Park - Photo by Stefan Ekernas.


Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Range Map - Purple Gallinule
South Dakota Status: Extremely rare visitor, with only one confirmed sighting in South Dakota (May 1999 in Clark County).

Additional Purple Gallinule Photos (Coming Soon!!)