Family Rails, Gallinules, Coots (Rallidae)

Least Concern

Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinicus)


French: Talève violacée German: Zwergsultanshuhn Spanish: Calamoncillo americano
Other common names: American Purple Gallinule, Yellow-legged Gallinule

Fulica martinica


, 1766,

Martinique, West Indies


Sometimes placed in Gallinula or Porphyrula. Believed closely related to P. alleni. Proposed form georgicus (South Georgia) based on an immature bird. Monotypic.


Interior E USA; Pacific coast from Nayarit (W Mexico) and Atlantic coast from Maryland and Delaware, S through SE USA, Central America, West Indies and N & C South America S to S Peru and N Argentina. N populations winter S from Texas and Florida.

Descriptive notes

27–36 cm; male 203–305 g, female 142–291 g; wingspan 50–55 cm. Similar to P. alleni, but noticeably larger with purple head, paler neck,... read more


Typical calls a sharp, high-pitched “kyik”, sometimes with booming undertone; and loud... read more


Occurs mainly in subtropical and tropical lowlands and coastal fringes, in lush wetlands, notably... read more

Food and feeding

Predominantly plant material, including pondweed, sedges, willows, water-lilies, fruits, seeds of annual grasses and sedges and of floating... read more


USA, May–Aug, in some habitats, e.g. rice fields, nesting delayed until plant density adequate; El Salvador, Jul–Aug; Panama,... read more


North American birds migrate S over Gulf of Mexico, Oct–Nov, a few remaining to Dec.... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Little information on current populations and population trends but, as wetland habitat quality and quantity are keys to population... read more

Recommended citation

Taylor, B. (2019). Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinicus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 11 December 2019).