Family:Rails, crakes and coots
45cm to 50cm
90cm to 100cm
850g to 1.05kg
A further excellent example of Mallorcan conservation efforts is the recent introduction of this bird from the mainland. The best site to see them by far is at Albufera where they can be viewed from the bridge over the canal next to the Visitors Centre; sometimes you have to be a little patient though!
Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio porphyrio) is in the family Rallidae.
The Purple Gallinule is more commonly referred to as the Purple Swamphen or simply Swamphen and is easily recognisable by its size (similar to a chicken), large feet, red bill and bright plumage. The top part of the beak extends over the forehead of the bird and forms a front plate or shield; this is often a characteristic of many swamphens, coots and moorhens. In and around the island of Mallorca this relatively common bird is predominantly a purple/ blue colour whilst its nearby cousins on the African continent tend to have green coloured backs.
Although the swamphen has claw-like feet which are not webbed it can be extremely proficient whilst swimming in water for a bird without webbed feet and although its size and shape would suggest otherwise, it is also able to fly although it often gives a clumsy appearance whilst doing so. It can be quite a noisy bird making either booming or bleating sounds which tend to be more pronounced during the breeding season. It prefers to inhabit waterside/lake environments where it nests in reed beds and normally produces 3 to 6 eggs which are a pale yellow stone to reddish buff colour and are spotted with reddish-brown.
Found at freshwater wetlands, water rails are elusive birds, inhabiting reeds and rushes at the fringes of lakes and ponds. Slightly smaller than the related moorhen and coot, Water Rails are resident in the UK all year round, and numbers increase with the arrival of migrating birds each autumn.
Often confused for the similar wetland inhabitant the water rail, spotted crakes are rare visitors to the UK, and are notoriously hard to spot as they prefer to remain hidden within densely vegetated marshes and sedge beds.
The Moorhen is a common and colourful waterbird, found everywhere from city ponds to countryside wetlands.
A member of the family of coots, crakes and rails, the corncrake is unique in that it lives on dry land and prefers hayfields and dense cover as opposed to waterside habitats.
The Eurasian coot is sometimes mistaken for a duck but is in fact a wading bird with splayed toes as opposed to webbed feet. When foraging for food under the water ducks will eat their food whilst still submerged whereas coots will surface first and then eat. There are four sub-species of the Eurasian coot and eleven separate coot species.
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