Grey-headed swamphen

The grey-headed swamphen (Porphyrio poliocephalus) is a species of swamphen occurring from the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent to southern China and northern Thailand. It used to be considered a subspecies of the purple swamphen, but was elevated to full species status in 2015; today the purple swamphen is considered a superspecies and each of its six subspecies groups are designated full species.[1]

Grey-headed swamphen
Grey-headed swamphen (Porphyrio poliocephalus) male.jpg
Grey-headed swamphen (Porphyrio poliocephalus) female.jpg
Both, Vembanad Lake, Kerala
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Gruiformes
Family: Rallidae
Genus: Porphyrio
P. poliocephalus
Binomial name
Porphyrio poliocephalus
(Latham, 1801)

Porphyrio porphyrio poliocephalus

Porphyrio poliocephalus - MHNT

The male has an elaborate courtship display, holding water weeds in his bill and bowing to the female with loud chuckles.[2]

The grey-headed swamphen was introduced to North America in the late 1990s due to avicultural escapes in the Pembroke Pines, Florida area. State wildlife biologists attempted to eradicate the birds, but they have multiplied and can now be found in many areas of southern Florida. Ornithological authorities consider it likely that the swamphen will become an established part of Florida's avifauna.[3] It was added to the American Birding Association checklist in February 2013.[4]

Taxonomy and systematicsEdit

The grey-headed swamphen is one of 15 species in the genus Porphyrio. It was classified as a subspecies of P. porphyrio until 2015, when the purple swamphen species complex was split into 6 species.



  1. ^ "2015 taxonomy update for Indian birds | eBird India". Retrieved 2015-12-16.
  2. ^ Ali, Salim; JC Daniel (1983). The book of Indian Birds, Twelfth Centenary edition. New Delhi: Bombay Natural History Society/Oxford University Press.
  3. ^ Pranty, Bill, Kim Schnitzius, Kevin Schnitzius, and Helen W. Lovell. 2000. Discovery, distribution, and origin of the purple swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio) in Florida.' Florida Field Naturalist 28: 1–11.
  4. ^ Floyd, Ted (13 Feb 2013). "#977, Purple Swamphen!". American Birding Association. Retrieved 13 Feb 2013.

External linksEdit