Black-backed Swamphen

This species is defined as a Review Species. Please submit your records of this species via our record submission page.

Scientific Name: Porphyrio indicus
Malay Name: Panglin Indonesia
Chinese Name: 黑背紫水鸡

Recorded in the Indonesian archipelago: Borneo, Sulawesi, Sumatra, Java, and Bali. Recent sightings in Peninsular Malaysia may relate to dispersing birds from this species.


Size: 28-29 cm

Similar to Grey-headed Swamphen, but has a reduced frontal shield, with Black-backed normally lacking the prominent raised ridges on the sides of the shield. This species also shows darker upperparts and head compared to Grey-headed Swamphen. Generally, Black-backed Swamphen has a dark purple head and back, which appear as dark or darker than the underparts, while Grey-headed's head color appears lighter than the rest of the plumage. Hybrids of the two species may occur but confirmatory evidence is lacking. Their taxonomic relationships are also being debated.

Habitat: Freshwater wetlands.


Local Status: Rare visitor

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