French: Talève sultane German: Purpurhuhn Spanish: Calamón común
Other common names:
European Swamphen (porphyrio),
Indian Swamphen (poliocephalus),
Black-headed Swamphen (indicus),
Black-backed Swamphen (indicus or melanotus groups)
Asia, America (= lands bordering the western Mediterranean Sea)
Subspecies and Distribution
P. p. porphyrio
(Linnaeus, 1758) – Western Swamphen – E & S Spain, S France and Sardinia to Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.
P. p. madagascariensis
(Latham, 1801) – African Swamphen – Egypt, sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar.
P. p. caspius
E. J. O. Hartert, 1917 – Caspian Sea, NW Iran and Turkey.
P. p. seistanicus
Zarudny & Härms, 1911 – Iraq and S Iran to Afghanistan, Pakistan and NW India.
P. p. poliocephalus
(Latham, 1801) – Grey-headed Swamphen – India and Sri Lanka through Bangladesh, Andamans, Nicobars and N Myanmar to SC China (Yunnan) and N Thailand.
P. p. viridis
Begbie, 1834 – Indochinese Swamphen – S Myanmar, S Thailand, Indochina and Peninsular Malaysia.
P. p. indicus
Horsfield, 1821 – Sunda Swamphen – Greater Sundas to Bali and Sulawesi.
P. p. pulverulentus
Temminck, 1826 – Philippine Swamphen – Philippines.
P. p. pelewensis
Hartlaub & Finsch, 1872 – Palau Is.
P. p. melanopterus
Bonaparte, 1856 – Moluccas and Lesser Sundas to New Guinea.
P. p. bellus
Gould, 1841 – SW Australia.
P. p. melanotus
Temminck, 1820 – Australasian Swamphen – N & E Australia and Tasmania to Kermadec Is, New Zealand and Chatham Is; migrates to New Guinea.
P. p. samoensis
Peale, 1848 – Admiralty Is S to New Caledonia and E to Samoa.
38–50 cm; madagascariensis male 528–687 (636) g, female 480–737 (556) g; nominate male 720–1000 (869) g, female 520–870 (724) g; ... read more
Very vocal; repertoire rich and variable. Male has low, sonorous calls, sometimes ending with... read more
Fresh or brackish, sheltered open waters, still or slow-flowing, fringed or overgrown by ... read more
Food and feeding
Omnivorous, but primarily vegetarian, taking shoots, leaves, roots, stems, flowers and seeds of aquatic and semi-aquatic plants. Principal... read more
Mediterranean, mainly Mar–Jun; India and Pakistan, mainly Jun–Sept (SW monsoon); sub-Saharan Africa, in rainy season (possibly... read more
No regular long distance migrations. Local seasonal movements, in response to changing habitat... read more
Status and conservation
Not globally threatened (Least Concern). In 20th century, nominate race has suffered marked decrease in already restricted range, often because of wetland drainage and also... read more
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