Pembroke Pines: Swamphen Ground Zero?

Chapel Trail Nature Preserve

The bird seen in the center of this photograph of Chapel Trail Nature Preserve is a purple swamphen, a relative of purple gallinules, moorhens and coots. It is, however, a native of Asia, not Florida. Swamphens have proliferated to the point that they've become fairly common throughout South Florida. There are three theories as to how they got in the wild, and two of them involve Hurricane Andrew back in 1992. Theory One: the swamphens escaped from confinement at the Miami Zoo when the winds of Andrew damaged their enclosure. Theory Two: a Pembroke Pines hobbyist kept purple swamphens on his property when, again, Andrew damaged their enclosure, allowing them to escape. Theory Three: A Pembroke Pines resident kept swamphens on his property and let them roam freely. We don't know which theory is correct; perhaps all three, perhaps none, but certainly theories no. 2 and 3 came to mind when we spotted this swamphen foraging at Chapel Trail Nature Preserve in Pembroke Pines.


Published by Wild South Florida, PO Box 7241, Delray Beach, FL 33482.
Photographs by David Sedore. Photographs are property of the publishers and may not be used without permission.