These lovely pictures were taken by Deryl Varela Cienfuegos in Matanzas, Cuba. Thank you Deryl for allowing me to use them.
- Purple Gallinules are remarkable fliers and turn up far out of their normal range surprisingly often. They’ve even shown up in Iceland, Switzerland, South Georgia island, the Galápagos, and South Africa. A recent study noted that these may not be mere accidents: years with severe drought in the gallinule’s core range tended to produce more so-called vagrants in autumn and winter. In other words, these wanderers may not be lost but perhaps seeking places to feed because their usual haunts do not have adequate food.
- In the tropics, such as Panama and Costa Rica, Purple Gallinules often have multiple broods per year. In an unusual behavior for rails, the juvenile and immature birds from earlier nestings often assist parents with feeding and defending the new chicks and defending the family’s territory as well.
- Purple Gallinule chicks are “subprecocial,” meaning they can walk around soon after hatching but cannot feed themselves for the first few weeks of life. The chicks are equipped with a tiny claw at the end of their pollex (innermost digit, corresponding to a human thumb), which helps them grip vegetation as they move around their environment.
- The oldest recorded Purple Gallinule was at least 7 years, 4 months old when it was found in Florida in 1956. It had been banded there in 1950.