|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|I took this photo recently whilst walking around the local wetlands with a girlfriend. It is of a pair of Purple Swamphens. I love watching these birds, they seem to flick their tail a lot which is a lovely white, very visible!|
This large rail (44 - 48 cm) is unmistakable. The Purple Swamphen is mainly dusky black above, with a broad dark blue collar, and dark blue to purple below. As the Purple Swamphen walks, it flicks its tail up and down, revealing its white undertail. The bill is red and robust, and the legs and feet orange-red. The call is also distinctive: a loud, penetrating 'kee-ow', as well as some softer clucking between members of a group while feeding. 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.
Distribution and Habitat
The Purple Swamphen is found around freshwater swamps, streams and marshes, and is common throughout eastern and northern Australia, with an isolated population in the extreme south-west of the continent. Birds have transported themselves from Australia to New Guinea and New Zealand and throughout the islands of the south-west Pacific. It has been suggested that the New Zealand population of Purple Swamphens (locally called the Pukeko) originated in Australia.
Food and feeding
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.
Pringle, J.D. 1985. The Waterbirds of Australia. Angus and Robertson/National Photographic Index of Australian Wildlife, Sydney.
RAW to JPEG
Cropped the image a tad
Altered the contrast and brightness levels a tad
Cloned a bit of the right hand bird
Sharpened and framed the image
Thanks for looking and for your comments and critiques! Cheers Tina :-)
deblink, ridvan, gracious has marked this note useful
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- [2007-07-18 12:34]
A nice picture of these elegant birds...The environment, colors, are smooth and natural...
Maybe the light didn't help to see bird's details on head but it is not an easy work...
And yes, you are right... I also love their beautiful white tails...;-) Marta
- [2007-07-18 18:46]
I have some of this kind to post soon! Well done capture. Nice birds!
I like the way the flit their white rumps around too. Nice composition.
Hi Tina, elegant couple with splendid colors, very well done, have a great sunday, ciao Silvio
- [2007-07-22 5:46]
selam tina, nice shot and very good composition of this birds nice pov and bg with splendid colours. Well done ! Regards ridvan
Good Dof in capturing this Swamphen!
very sharp with exposure and focus
well composed and well seen