Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Purple Swamp Hen!

I have never used an exclamation mark in the title of one of my blogs before (nb: this may not be true, but I'm not going to check), so you can already tell that something exciting is going on. This may be the closest your fav. bird blog (FBB) comes to a juicy exclusive. Yes, more exciting than the actual wild parrots of telegraph hill, or that burrowing owl interview we landed back in december. Today, I bring you the Purple Swamp Hen, the most recent bird to officially be welcomed to America. Usually only found in the mysterious eastern hemisphere kingdoms of Africa, Australia, The Middle East, and Asia, he is a non-native species that has now taken enough of a toe-hold that he is considered to be a more or less permanent part of our natural fauna.

His meteoric rise to official bird-dom began in the late 90's when he escaped from bird collectors in south Floirda. Although for a while conservationists attempted to exterminate the invasive species, the Purple Swamp Hen was able to spread and multiply to the point where the American Birding Association finally declared him to be an official 'checklist bird' in 2013 (he is number 977 for those curious about such things). We understand that the topic of non-native species is a sticky one, but we are really happy for Purple Swamp Hen and welcome him with open arms. He is really cool looking. Without further ado-
Purple Swamp Hen aka. pūkeko aka. Sultana Bird
Wakodahatchee Wetlands, Delray Beach, Florida, USA
Member of the Rails, Gallinules, and Coots Family

~true bird fact~ Ancient Romans of aristocratic classes often kept Purple Swamp Hens as decorative pets at large villas and mansions (think peacocks at Southern Estates). Romans didn't eat these birds and regarded them as noble.

~true bird myth~ The native Maori people of New Zealand and Samoa also saw the Purple Swamp Hen as a bird with leadership qualities. Only elders were allowed to keep them as pets, and they were, again, never eaten. They were sometimes regraded to be earthly incarnations of trickster demons called Vave. Perhaps they are.

Super in-shape. One ripped bird.
Reacts quickly and decisively, even in situations where he is not the most qualified bird
Roughhouses with his friends
Surprisingly has a real musical talent

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