Gray-headed (Purple) Swamphen


(Porphyrio poliocephalus (formerly Porphyrio porphyrio))

Native to many other parts of the world, the Purple Swamphen was introduced as an escapee in the Pembroke Pines area of south Florida in 1996, initially spread locally and has now become established.  Attempts by authorities to extirpate it by shooting proved unsuccessful, and it now continues to spread within south Florida. There were thirteen subspecies, the Florida population believed to be mostly or entirely of the gray-headed race poliocephalus, which is native to the area around the Caspian Sea. Now the Purple Swamphen has actually been split into six separate species Western, African, Black-backed, Phillippine, Australasian, and Gray-headed).

As of February 11, 2013, Purple Swamphen was newly designated a “countable” ABA species, so the countable Florida species is now the Gray-headed Swamphen.

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