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The Grey Headed SwampHen – Porphyrio Poliocephalus

The first thing that catches your attention about the grey headed swamp hen is the iridescent colors of his feathers. The dusky blue black feathers shimmer with a purple and blue sheen in sunlight.  The red  facial shied as it is called adds a nice contrast to the color of the bird.

The beak is red unlike the moorhen which has a yellow tip.  These birds like the Eurasian coot have a sharp cry.

They are always found among the weeds, here it is the water hyacinths that this bird in the thumb nail is standing on.

When startled they display their clumsiness and waddle around or flap their wings awkwardly to fly.

They have red eyes and long pinkish legs with three toes.

The males have a wonderful courtship dance complete with a bunch of weeds in the beak, bowing down to the female and making loud chuckling noises.

I have seen a swamp hen fly once, they look ridiculous with feet dangling down. They are low flying birds.

The grey headed swamp hen are different from the purple moorhens, they have a distinct grayish head.

Another waterbird you might be interested in

  • Question of

    Have you seen a swamphen before?

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Written by Dawn

Content AuthorYears Of Membership


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