Nonnatives - Purple Swamphen

Purple Swamphen - Porphyrio porphyrio

Florida's Nonnative Wildlife. Species detail.

First year: 1996

Extirpated year:

Established status: Species are present and breeding but for less than 10 years.

Estimated Florida range: 1 county Less than 10 years, 2 counties  Not reported breeding

Statewide trend: Expanding

Threats to natives:  Although they are primarily vegetarians swamphens have also been recorded preying on mollusks, fish, frogs, lizards, snakes, bird eggs, and small birds (Pranty et al. 2000). They may also impact the plant life of the wetlands and the native species that depend on it.

Species Account: The birds in Broward County probably come from 2 aviculturists near Silver Lakes, but 8 birds did escape from the Miami Metro Zoo's "Wings of Asia" exhibit in 1992. Most of the adult swamphens at Pembroke Pines have grayish heads and are thought to be Porphyrio porphyrio poliocephalus, which is native to Turkey and the Caspian Sea east to southern Asia. There is also a blue-headed form seen at Pembroke Pines that represents another subspecies.

Habitats: Lake, Freshwater marsh

County First Year Extirpated Year Breeding status Notes
Broward 1996   Less than 10 years In 1999, the population reached 134 birds in Pembroke Pines (Pranty 2001b).
Dade 1992   Not reported breeding 8 escaped birds
Palm Beach 2000   Not reported breeding 1 seen at Wakodahtchee Wetlands and 3 at Belle Glade.


Pranty, B. 2001b. Purple swamphens on the move. Winging It 13(7):1-7.

Pranty, B., K. Schnitzius, K. Schnitzius, and H. W. Lovell. 2000.  Discovery, origin, and current distribution of the purple swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio) in Florida. Florida Field Naturalist 28:1-40.

Links to more information

Australian museum online species account

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