American purple gallinule Porphyrio martinica, copyright Carmelo López.

Belongs within: Rallidae.

Porphyrio, the swamphens or gallinules, are a group of relatively large, heavy-bodied rails with generally blue or purple underparts and a well-developed frontal shield. The frontal shield is a bright red in Old World species related to the purple swamphen P. porphyrio but pale blue in the American purple gallinule P. martinica and greenish-yellow in the azure gallinule P. flavirostris of South America.

<==Porphyrio Brisson 1760 [incl. Caesarornis Reichenbach 1853, Mantellornis Mathews 1911, Notornis Owen 1848] CC10
    |  i. s.: P. calvus [incl. P. smaragdinus] S13
    |           |--P. c. calvus S13
    |           `--P. c. caledonicus Sarasin 1913 S13
    |         P. coerulescens HSS13
    |         P. paepae Steadman 1988 L98
    |--+--P. alleni Thompson 1842 G-RGT14
    |  |--P. flavirostris (Gmelin 1789) JT12, G-RGT14 [=Fulica flavirostris G-RGT14]
    |  `--P. martinica (Linnaeus 1766) [=Fulica martinica] G-RGT14
    `--+--+--P. hochstetteri (Meyer 1883) JT12, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
       |  `--P. kukwiedei Balouet & Olson 1989 [=P. (Notornis) kukwiedei] L98
       `--+--P. indicus Horsfield 1821 L98 [=P. poliocephalus indicus RN72; incl. P. palliatus L98]
          `--+--P. pulverulentus Temminck 1826 L98
             `--+--+--P. madagascariensis (Latham 1801) [incl. P. aegyptiacus] L98
                |  `--+--*P. porphyrio (Linnaeus 1758) CC10, JT12, CC10 [=Fulica porphyrio CC10]
                |     `--P. poliocephalus (Latham 1801) L98 (see below for synonymy)
                `--+--+--P. ellioti Salvadori 1879 [incl. P. caledonicus, P. neobritanicus] L98
                   |  `--P. viridis Begbie 1834 [incl. P. edwardsi] L98
                   `--+--P. albus (White 1790) L98 [=Fulica alba G-RGT14]
                      `--+--P. mantelli (Owen 1848) WH02 [=*Notornis mantelli CC10]
                         `--P. melanotus Temminck 1820 [=P. melanonotus; incl. P. norfolkensis] L98
                              |--P. m. melanotus (see below for synonymy) CC10
                              |--P. ‘samoensis’ aneiteumensis S13
                              |--P. m. bellus Gould 1840 CC10 (see below for synonymy)
                              |--P. m. melanopterus Bonaparte 1856 CC10, L98 [incl. P. mertoni L98]
                              |--P. m. pelewensis CC10
                              `--P. m samoensis Peale 1848 CC10, L98 [incl. P. tongensis L98, P. vitiensis L98]

Inorganic: Notornis notornis minilorientalis Okamura 1987 O87

Porphyrio hochstetteri (Meyer 1883) JT12, CC10 [=Notornis hochstetteri CC10, *Mantellornis hochstetteri CC10, Porphyrio mantelli hochstetteri CC10; incl. Notornis parkeri Forbes 1892 CC10]

Porphyrio melanotus bellus Gould 1840 CC10 [=P. poliocephalus bellus RN72, P. porphyrio bellus WS48; incl. P. melanotus woodwardi Mathews 1912 WS48]

Porphyrio melanotus melanotus Temminck 1820 [=P. porphyrio melanotus; incl. P. chathamensis Sharpe 1893, P. melanotus chathamensis, P. melanotus fletcherae Mathews 1911, P. melanotus neomelanotus Mathews 1911, P. stanleyi Rowley 1875, P. melanotus stanleyi] CC10

Porphyrio poliocephalus (Latham 1801) L98 [=Gallinula poliocephala CC10, *Caesarornis poliocephalus CC10, Porphyrio porphyrio poliocephalus L81; incl. P. seistanicus L98]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[CC10] Checklist Committee (OSNZ). 2010. Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand, Norfolk and Macquarie Islands, and the Ross Dependency, Antarctica 4th ed. Ornithological Society of New Zealand and Te Papa Press: Wellington.

[G-RGT14] Garcia-R, J. C., G. C. Gibb & S. A. Trewick. 2014. Deep global evolutionary radiation in birds: diversification and trait evolution in the cosmopolitan bird family Rallidae. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 81: 96–108.

[HSS13] Hirschfeld, E., A. Swash & R. Still. 2013. The World's Rarest Birds. Princeton University Press: Princeton (New Jersey).

[JT12] Jetz, W., G. H. Thomas, J. B. Joy, K. Hartmann & A. Ø. Mooers. 2012. The global diversity of birds in space and time. Nature 491: 444–448.

[L98] Livezey, B. C. 1998. A phylogenetic analysis of the Gruiformes (Aves) based on morphological characters, with an emphasis on the rails (Rallidae). Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B—Biological Sciences 353: 2077–2151.

[L81] Long, J. L. 1981. Introduced Birds of the World: The worldwide history, distribution and influence of birds introduced to new environments. Reed: Sydney.

[O87] Okamura, C. 1987. New facts: Homo and all Vertebrata were born simultaneously in the former Paleozoic in Japan. Original Report of the Okamura Fossil Laboratory 15: 347–573.

[RN72] Rutgers, A., & K. A. Norris (eds) 1972. Encyclopaedia of Aviculture vol. 1. London, Blandford Press.

[S13] Sarasin, F. 1913. Die Vögel Neu-Caledoniens und der Loyalty-Inseln. In: Sarasin, F., & J. Roux (eds) Nova Caledonia: Forschungen in Neu-Caledonian und auf den Loyalty-Inseln. A. Zoologie vol. 1 pt 1 pp. 1–78, pls 1–3. C. W. Kreidels Verlag: Wiesbaden.

[WS48] Whittell, H. M., & D. L. Serventy. 1948. A systematic list of the birds of Western Australia. Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery of Western Australia, Special Publication 1: 1–126.

[WH02] Worthy, T. H., & R. N. Holdaway. 2002. The Lost World of the Moa: Prehistoric life of New Zealand. Indiana University Press: Bloomington (Indiana).

Last updated: 20 August 2019.

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