The Purple Swamphen has a range covering southern Europe, Africa, Asia and Australasia. It is also known as the Purple Moorhen and Purple Gallinule, but the latter is also applied to the American bird which has yellow legs and a pale blue face-shield instead of the bright red legs and face-shield of the Purple Swamphen. Above is the European subspecies with blue back.
This Purple Swamphen (above/below) is the African subspecies with green back and turquoise face. Like the other subspecies, it has huge red legs and feet and a red beak and face-shield.
Like its European (Mediterranean, including North Africa) counterpart, the African (sub-Sahara) bird has iridescent blue wing feathers and the characteristic white rump of the moorhen species.
The New Zealand and north/east Australia subspecies of Purple Swamphen, also called the Pukeko, (P. p. melanotus) shown above/below in a cornfield,
has a black face and back with purple neck and chest and has shorter toes.
A much rarer, larger and heavier bird with colouring closer to the south European/north African nominate subspecies is the New Zealand Takahe
(Porphyrio hochstetteri) not illustrated here. Related to the Pukeko, it is a much earlier-established bird in New Zealand, flightless, nearly extinct and given status of a separate full species.