The Australasian swamphen (Porphyrio melanotus), family Rallidae, is a species of swamphen occurring in eastern Indonesia, the Moluccas, Aru and Kai Islands, as well as in Papua New Guinea and Australia. It is also found in New Zealand where it is known as the Pūkeko, derived from the Māori language. The Australasian swamphen previously was considered a subspecies of the purple swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio).
For such a bulky bird, the Swamphen is an accomplished flier and will readily take to the air to escape danger. In flight, the long legs and elongated toes trail behind or hang underneath the body. Purple Swamphens are proficient swimmers, but prefer to wander on the edges of the water, among reeds and on floating vegetation.
The diet of the Purple Swamphen includes the soft shoots of reeds and rushes and small animals, such as frogs and snails. However, it is a reputed egg stealer and will also eat ducklings when it can catch them. The Purple Swamphen uses its long toes to grasp food while eating.
Purple Swamphens are generally found in small groups and studies have shown that these consist of more males than females. More than one male will mate with a single female. All family members, and occasionally the young from a previous brood, share in incubation and care of the young. The nest consists of a platform of trampled reeds with the surrounding vegetation sometimes being used to form a shelter. Often two broods will be raised in a year.
This post is part of the Weekend Reflections meme,
and also part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme,
and also part of the I'd Rather Be Birdin' meme.