Purple Gallinule

An immature Porphyrio martinica, pretty rare for our parts, has spent the weekend in Prospect Park. Essentially a tropical species, Purples are found year-around in Florida, the Carribean islands, and parts of Mexico. The specific epithet tells you as much: this purple waterhen is named after Martinique. They have been known to get as far north as southern Canada.When mature, the back will be green, the head, throat and belly this purple-blue; the beak red, the forehead shield a pale blue that often looks white. The green is starting to come through nicely already, depending on the angle of light.Note the very long toes: this bird walks on water… well, on vegetation in the water, anyway. The bird was foraging actively, close to observers (several to many), and occasionally put on some real speed by dashing for thicker cover, especially when it had something in its mouth. I wasn’t able to determine what those prizes were. They mostly eat plants but will scarf up some invertebrates, too.This is the first one I’ve ever seen. Brooklyn has provided quite a lot of my life birds.

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