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The purple swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio) of south-west Europe and north-west Africa is a member of the rail family Rallidae – also known locally as the pūkeko, African purple swamphen, purple moorhen, purple gallinule or purple coot. It is also known as the sultana bird from its French name talève sultane. It has large pink feet, bright plumage and a red bill and frontal shield. The very large bill is triangle-shaped, with bulky and curved upper mandible, giving the bird a strange appearance. It has a white undertail that is exposed when it flicks its tail up and down. The slender toes show fine claws, and especially the rear toe. It lives in wetlands, typically swamps or well-vegetated lake and river margins.
In 2015, the purple swamphen was split into the following species:
Western swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio) - southwest Europe and northwest Africa
African swamphen (Porphyrio madagascariensis) - sub-Saharan continental Africa and Madagascar
Grey-headed swamphen (Porphyrio poliocephalus) - Middle East, through the Indian subcontinent to southern China and northern Thailand
Black-backed swamphen (Porphyrio indicus) - southeast Asia to Sulawesi
Philippine swamphen (Porphyrio pulverulentus) - Philippine islands
Australasian swamphen (Porphyrio melanotus) - Australia, New Zealand, and Oceania.
See also: Grey headed swamphen
Purple swamphenPurple swamphenPurple swamphen