Family: (Rallidae) Rails, Gallinules, and Coots
Preferred Habitat: Marshes.
Seasonal Occurrence: Common May through September. Breeds in our area.
Notes: Purple Gallinules have arrived at the rookery in the High Island Smith Oaks Sanctuary. They are spotted often and easily from our platforms as they forage around the rookery islands. They use their long toes to walk across floating vegetation or balance on bushes or low trees. They have a varied diet and will feed on flowers, fruits, grains, seeds and some invertebrates, occasionally even the eggs and young of other birds.
This beautiful bird grabs your attention with it's purple head and neck, green back and light blue forehead. The juvenile is pale brown with a greenish back and the chicks are black. They spend the summer along the southeast US coast and are residents in Florida, Central and South America. They prefer freshwater marshes with extensive floating vegetation and brushy edges.
Purple Gallinules may appear awkward when they fly short distances with their bright yellow legs dangling beneath them, but individuals are routinely spotted far outside their range as they stray to the north, even as far as Canada. While they are still listed as a species of Least Concern by the IUCN, their population has decreased with the loss of necessary wetland habitat.
- Meghan Anne