African Purple Swamphen ( Porphyrio madagascariensis, family: Rallidae)

Birds & Birding in the Kruger National Park South Africa. In Roberts 6 this bird was called Purple Gallinule

The African Purple Swamphen (Latin name Porphyrio madagascariensis) is described in Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition. This bird has a unique Roberts number of 223 and you will find a full description of this bird on page 330 also a picture of the African Purple Swamphen on page 305. The African Purple Swamphen belongs to the family of birds classified as Rallidae. According to the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology the African Purple Swamphen is also known by these other names: Purple Swamphen, King Reedhen.

In the previous edition of Roberts (ie 6th edition) the African Purple Swamphen was called the Purple Gallinule. The Robert's 7 Latin name for African Purple Swamphen has changed from Porphyrio porphyrio in Robert's 6 to Porphyrio madagascariensis.

The map of the Kruger you see on this page shows the areas (coloured orange) where this bird has been identified. The basic information was provided by the Avian Demographic Unit based at UCT and I created the maps from that information ... the green dots show the locations of the various Kruger National Park Rest Camps

The African Purple Swamphen is neither Endemic or near Endemic to the Kruger National Park.

In terms of distribution of the African Purple Swamphen in the Kruger National Park you may not see it in all areas. African Purple Swamphen has been recorded in only 1 sections of the arbitrary Kruger Park regions I selected.

Identification assistance for this avian species ...

The African Purple Swamphen is a bird about the size of a grey hornbill. The height of the African Purple Swamphen is about 46 cms and its weight is about 555 gms

The male and female African Purple Swamphen have the same plumage and colours

  • Head is purple, blue.
  • Eye is red.
  • Bill is red.
  • Throat is blue.
  • Back is olive.
  • Legs are pink.

This bird has normally proportioned leg length.

Main diet items for this bird ...

The African Purple Swamphen feeds in tree and shrub foliage mainly



Breeding and nesting habits for this bird ...

The African Purple Swamphen is monogamous unless its mate dies. In the event of a partner dying Porphyrio madagascariensis will seek out a new mate

The nesting habit of African Purple Swamphen is to create the nest in branches of a tree or shrub. The bird lays eggs which are cream in colour and number between 2 to 5

Habitat and flocking behaviour for this bird ...

The preferred habitats for African Purple Swamphen are: wetlands

You can see African Purple Swamphen in flocks. The bird will often also be seen singly.

Names of this avian species in other languages ...

Xhosa ... Unknown

Zulu ... Unknown

Afrikaans ...Grootkoningriethaan

German ... Purpurhuhn

Portuguese ... Caimo-comum

French ... Talve d'Afrique

Dutch ... Purperkoet

First bird in list | Previous bird viewed | Next KNP bird | Last bird in list

For in-depth birding information please refer to these authoritative avian references ...

Robert's 7th edition number ... 223

The main reference source for this data was "Roberts - Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition" . Other references were "Newmans Birds of the Kruger Park" by Keith Newman published circa 1980 . Names in foreign languages were obtained from the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town website ,