Grey-headed Swamphen

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

Scientific Name: Porphyrio poliocephalus
Malay Name: Panglin Biasa
Chinese Name: 紫水鸡

Breeding Range: Middle East and Indian subcontinent to s China, n Thailand, Andaman and Nicobar Is.

Polytypic. Subspecies are: seistanicus, poliocephalus, viridis.

Local Subspecies: viridis

Size: 28-29 cm

Distinguished from Common Moorhen by bigger size, dark purplish blue overall plumage, red stout bill, frontal shield and legs, whitish undertail-coverts and blackish-brown wings. Juvenile resembles adult but has paler plumage and duller frontal shield.

Similar looking species: Common Moorhen

Habitat: Freshwater wetlands.

Behaviour/Ecology: Often seen feeding in the open by picking up food material while walking on floating vegetation.

Local Status: Uncommon resident


External Links:
Photos: Oriental Bird Images
Sound Recordings: xeno-canto Link
Wikipedia Entry: Wikipedia Link
eBird Species page: eBird (Gray-headed Swamphen)


Jeyarajasingam, A., & Pearson, A. (2012). A Field Guide to the Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. Oxford University Press.

Robson, C. (2014). Field guide to the birds of South-East Asia (Second Edition). Bloomsbury Publishing, London.