Monday 7 May 2012: Purple Swamphen (Porpherio porpherio)
La Trobe University is home to a very diverse waterfowl population. Especially rails (Rallidae) such as swamphens, moorhens and coots. The Purple Swamphen (known in New Zealand as the Pukeko) is a large rail that feeds mainly on worms and other invertebrates it finds in the swampy banks of water bodies where it lives, or the boggy Simpson Lawn like this one.
They are mainly wading birds with a slightly ungainly gait out of the water, but their lack of webbed feet means they are also not strong swimmers. However, this doesn't stop them from being a very successful species.