Australasian swamphen

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Australasian swamphen
Porphyrio porphyrio -Waikawa, Marlborough, New Zealand-8.jpg
P. melanotus at Waikawa, Marlborough, New Zealand
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Gruiformes
Family: Rallidae
Genus: Porphyrio
Species:
P. melanotus
Binomial name
Porphyrio melanotus
(Temminck, 1820)
Synonyms

Porphyrio porphyrio melanotus

The Australasian swamphen (Porphyrio melanotus) is a species of swamphen (Porphyrio) found in eastern Indonesia (the Moluccas, Aru and Kai Islands), Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand. In New Zealand, it is known as the pukeko (from the Māori pūkeko). The species used to be thought a subspecies of the purple swamphen.

Distribution[change | change source]

The Australasian swamphen occurs in mainland Australia, eastern Indonesia, the Moluccas, Aru and Kai Islands, and in Papua New Guinea. It is also found on New Zealand's main islands and in the Chatham and Kermadec Islands. It has a small shield, black upperparts, and a purple throat and breast. P. p. pelewensis (Hartlaub & Finsch, 1872) from Palau, looks like melanotus but has greener upperparts and is smaller. P. p. melanopterus (Bonaparte, 1856) is found from the Lesser Sundas and Moluccas to New Guinea. It is as melanotus but smaller, more variable and less blue in the upperparts. P. p. bellus (Gould, 1820) from Western Australia is as melanotus but has a cerulean blue throat and breast. P. p. samoensis (Peale, 1848) occurs from New Guinea to New Caledonia and Samoa, and is as melanotus but smaller, with a little brown on the back

In flight in Pauatahanui Wildlife Reserve, Wellington, New Zealand