Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Purple Coot - Thalangama, Sri Lanka

A photograph of a Purple Coot taken in Thalangama, Sri Lanka
Purple Coot - Thalangama, Sri Lanka

The Purple Coot, also know as the Purple Swamphen, is a common bird found in the lowland marshes of Sri Lanka. The subspecies found in Sri Lanka, Porphyrio porphyrio poliocephalus, is one of up to 13 subspecies identified through Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. The thirteen subspecies mainly differ in the colour of their plumage.

More photographs after the jump.
A photograph of a Purple Coot taken in Thalangama, Sri Lanka
Purple Coot - Thalangama, Sri Lanka

Purple Coots are easy to identify because of their bright plumage and loud call. It is said to be able to fly long distances and for a bird without webbed feet, it is a good swimmer. They are seasonal breeders but the seasons vary across their range. The season correlates to the peak rainfall or summer temperatures in more temperate climates.

A photograph of a Purple Coot taken in Thalangama, Sri Lanka
Purple Coot - Thalangama, Sri Lanka

Multiple females may lay eggs in the same nest, which is built amongst reeds or other debris, and share incubation duties. Incubation lasts from 23-27 days and is performed by both males and females. "Helpers" are also known to assist with the incubation. After hatching, chicks are fed for a period of 10-15 days, after which they fend for themselves.

A photograph of a Purple Coot taken in Thalangama, Sri Lanka
Purple Coot - Thalangama, Sri Lanka 

Although the species is considered to be in the "least concern" category according to the IUCN, some subspecies have declined. This includes the subspecies found in the Mediterranean. An introduced population exists in Florida but biologists are trying to eradicate them.

A photograph of a Purple Coot taken in Thalangama, Sri Lanka
Purple Coot - Thalangama, Sri Lanka

These photographs were taken with the Canon 7D and the 100-400mm lens combo during several early morning visits to Thalangama.


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