Purple Gallinule – Accepted

1. 01 Oct 1961

HY female

Pt. Loma SD



ph., SDNHM 30289

2. 17–27 Oct 1986


Lake Elizabeth, Fremont ALA



ph., Langham (1991), Small (1994:plate 54)

3. 23 Sep–12 Nov 1997


Furnace Creek Ranch INY



Fig. 106, ph., FN 52:125








Figure 106. The Purple Gallinule is famous for long-distance vagrancy yet California claims only three records. This individual was photographed on 10 October 1997 at Furnace Creek Ranch, Inyo County, more than two weeks into a stay that lasted nearly two months. The bill’s partial development suggests that this bird may have been in its second fall (1997-151; Todd Easterla).






Purple Gallinule

PURPLE GALLINULE Porphyrio martinica (Linnaeus, 1766)

Accepted: 3 (100%)

Treated in Appendix H: no

Not accepted: 0

CBRC review: all records

Not submitted/reviewed: 0

Color image: none

In the United States, this marsh dweller breeds along the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plain, from South Carolina through eastern Texas. The species also has bred locally or casually in the continent’s interior north to southern Illinois and along the Atlantic coast north to Maryland and Delaware. The breeding range extends south through the West Indies, along Mexico’s Atlantic coast, and along the Pacific coast from Nayarit south through Central America and much of South America. Migratory birds at the northern and southern extremes of the range are renowned for long-distance vagrancy. Most North American vagrant records come from the East, north to Labrador and northern Ontario. Western records come from Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona. Exceptional are records from Greenland and Europe. In Africa, the species has occurred off the Liberian coast and is “quite regular” in South Africa during the boreal spring and summer, when Argentina’s birds are migrating north (Taylor 1996; see also Remsen and Parker 1990).

California’s first Purple Gallinule was a first-fall female recovered on 1 October 1961 after it struck a power line on Pt. Loma, San Diego County; the bird died the following day (Huey 1962). The state’s second record also involves a young bird, but the most recent one is of a probable second-fall bird present from 23 September to 12 November 1997 at Furnace Creek Ranch, Inyo County (see Figure 106). Most of the remaining western records are from Nevada and Arizona between August and October, a time frame generally consistent with California’s incipient pattern.


[CARIBBEAN COOT Fulica caribaea Ridgway, 1884 – see hypothetical section]

[DEMOISELLE CRANE Anthropoides virgo (Linnaeus, 1758) – see Supplemental List]

[WHOOPING CRANE Grus americana (Linnaeus, 1758) – see hypothetical section]

[EUROPEAN GOLDEN-PLOVER Pluvialis apricaria (Linnaeus, 1758) – see hypothetical section]