Purple Gallinule and its Aquatic Snacks


Purple Gallinule strides the broad leaves of the aquatic 
Fire Flag plants of the wetland and uses its long 
yellow toes effectively for the tight rope walk necessary
to get to the delicate lavender blossoms it so loves to 
dine upon.

Wood Storks were not the only birds to watch last Saturday at the rookery and the pond apple tree islands were not the only habitat to watch for wildlife. So while the wood storks dominated the upper realm, there were several Purple Gallinules doing their tight rope act on the slender flower stalks of the Aquatic Fire Flag plant sprouting from the floor of the wetland. Shown in this post are images of this brilliantly iridescent relative of the Common Moorhen, the prettiest swamp chicken as I’ve put it before!! Sorry no recipes here today!! The wetland was particularly beautiful with every possible shade of green punctuated by the indigo and purple flowers of the aquatic blooms.


The delicate Fire Flag blossoms.




Twin spires of Pickerel weed.


Lush Florida Wetland!

May the images of spring bring a sense of freshness, beauty and new life as we celebrate Easter.



~ by Judy on April 14, 2017.

9 Responses to “Purple Gallinule and its Aquatic Snacks”

  1. What an eyeful of color!  Gerard Manley Hopkins’ sonnet, “God’s Grandeur,” comes to mind, and just on time for Easter:

    The world is charged with the grandeur of God. 
    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil; 
    It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
    Crushed.  Why do men then now not reck his rod?
    Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
    And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
    And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell:  the soil
    is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

    And for all this, nature is never spent;
    There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
    And though the last lights off the black West went
    Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
    Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
    World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

    • Maggie, what a truly beautiful sonnet. I looked it up in order to fix up the line spacing because it all ran together on post. I am not familiar with Hopkins but will poke around and become familiar. It is perfect!! Thank you very much for introducing me to it.

  2. Purple Gallinule: such a colorful bird. I wonder if its colors are somehow due to the food that it eats. 🙂

    • I know that Flamingos’ color is attributed to the amount of carotenoid pigments in their bodies from the foods they eat. The more carotenoids in the diet the deeper the colors laid down in the feathers. I have not read of any pigment relationship with the purple flowers and the purple gallinule though and they do eat insects as well. But, if it works with the flamingos, I’d say that diet in general probably does affect the richness of the color of other birds feathers even though I don’t know about gallinules and think it is rather just their genetics. Bird hormones play a big role in the changing of colors of birds such as the lore of a White Egret being normally yellow and turning such a bright green when breeding and the bright blue of the Louisiana Heron lores and Great Blue Heron…and the reddening of the legs as well.

      LOL, not sure I really answered the question!! I had wondered too because of the Flamingos.

  3. I’ve seem many a photo of the purple gallinule (envious when all we have here is the common moorhen) but I hadn’t realised how small it is. Its precarious clasp of the fire-flag really emphasizes it. Together they paint a magical scene. I must say, our Norfolk Wetlands must seem rather drab in comparison,brightened only by the windmills and the marsh marigolds.

    • Both birds are members of the Rail family and both the Common Moorhens and the Purple Gallinules are close in size..I looked it up and both say length 13.” But, they are not large wading birds like the Great Blue Heron or Great Egrets for sure. And, when doing their traipse act in the wetlands among the broad leaves of the aquatic plants they seem quite diminutive in that big field of green.

  4. I often see coots and moorhens, but have yet to see a purple gallinule. I need to spend more time over in Chambers County, at the Anahuac preserve, but time always is an issue — especially since it’s a couple of hours to get over there. (A ferry ride’s involved, for one thing, and that can mean a lot of sitting around in line.)

    It was the plants that attracted my attention this time. Last week, I saw pickerel weed blooming, and two weeks ago or so I saw my first alligator flag. It’s in the same genus as your fire flag (Thalia geniculata), but is a different species (Thalia dealbata). Both can be called alligator flag, but ours is the powdery alligator flag. I really have become fond of scientific names. They’re often unpronounceable and hard to remember, but they do help clarify things.

    Your photos are just beautiful — so sharp and clear.

    • I too love scientific names and when younger used to be a real stickler about it. Plus, I think I tend to be a lumper rather than a splitter even though I love the minutest differences that deserve species names. I have spoken before that I think the Great White Heron at minimum should be a sub-species of Herodias. Still better not to overcomplicate. To understand better I also from time to time will look up the roots of the scientific names because it is fun to see how they got them. Like the American Black Vulture is Coragyps atratus. Atratus means “clothed in black”…how fitting. And, Coragyps is a contraction of the Greek corax plus gyps for raven-vulture respectively. And vulture means ‘tearer’. Occidentalis the specie name Audubon gave the Great White Heron Ardea occidentalis….means western I think and sometimes the names may describe the bird and sometimes maybe locale and sometime the namer I think…like the Wurdemann’s Heron Ardea wurdemanni named after its discoverer Gustavus Wurdemann, collector in the 1850s. Now it is considered a morph of the Great Blue and so is Ardea Herodias wurdemanni with subspecies name being respected as with occidentalis of the Great White. Too much to write here but a lot of information and history is tied in with scientific names.

  5. Such vibrant colours, what a beautiful bird Judy.

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