American purple gallinule Porphyrio martinica, copyright Carmelo López.

Belongs within: Rallidae.

Porphyrio, the swamphens or gallinules, are a group of relatively large, heavy-bodied rails with generally blue or purple underparts and a well-developed frontal shield. The frontal shield is a bright red in Old World species related to the purple swamphen P. porphyrio but pale blue in the American purple gallinule P. martinica and greenish-yellow in the azure gallinule P. flavirostris of South America. The takahe P. hochstetteri is a large flightless species native to the South Island of New Zealand that survived to the modern day only in remote alpine grasslands.

<==Porphyrio Brisson 1760G-RGT14 [incl. Caesarornis Reichenbach 1853CC10, Mantellornis Mathews 1911CC10, Notornis Owen 1848CC10]
    |  i. s.: P. calvus [incl. P. smaragdinus]S13
    |           |--P. c. calvusS13
    |           `--P. c. caledonicus Sarasin 1913S13
    |         P. coerulescensHSS13
    |         P. paepae Steadman 1988L98
    |--+--P. alleni Thompson 1842G-RGT14
    |  |--P. flavirostris (Gmelin 1789)JT12, G-RGT14 [=Fulica flavirostrisG-RGT14]
    |  `--P. martinica (Linnaeus 1766) [=Fulica martinica]G-RGT14
    `--+--+--P. hochstetteri (Meyer 1883)G-RGT14 (see below for synonymy)
       |  `--P. kukwiedei Balouet & Olson 1989 [=P. (Notornis) kukwiedei]L98
       `--+--P. indicus Horsfield 1821L98 [=P. poliocephalus indicusRN72; incl. P. palliatusL98]
          `--+--P. pulverulentus Temminck 1826L98
             `--+--+--P. madagascariensis (Latham 1801) [incl. P. aegyptiacus]L98
                |  `--+--*P. porphyrio (Linnaeus 1758) [=Fulica porphyrio]G-RGT14
                |     `--P. poliocephalus (Latham 1801)L98 (see below for synonymy)
                `--+--+--P. ellioti Salvadori 1879 [incl. P. caledonicus, P. neobritanicus]L98
                   |  `--P. viridis Begbie 1834 [incl. P. edwardsi]L98
                   `--+--P. albus (White 1790)L98 [=Fulica albaG-RGT14]
                      `--+--P. mantelli (Owen 1848)WH02 [=*Notornis mantelliCC10]
                         `--P. melanotus Temminck 1820 [=P. melanonotus; incl. P. norfolkensis]L98
                              |--P. m. melanotusCC10 (see below for synonymy)
                              |--P. ‘samoensis’ aneiteumensisS13
                              |--P. m. bellus Gould 1840CC10 (see below for synonymy)
                              |--P. m. melanopterus Bonaparte 1856CC10, L98 [incl. P. mertoniL98]
                              |--P. m. pelewensisCC10
                              `--P. m samoensis Peale 1848CC10, L98 [incl. P. tongensisL98, P. vitiensisL98]
Inorganic: Notornis notornis minilorientalis Okamura 1987O87

Porphyrio hochstetteri (Meyer 1883)G-RGT14 [=Notornis hochstetteriG-RGT14, *Mantellornis hochstetteriCC10, Porphyrio mantelli hochstetteriCC10; incl. Notornis parkeri Forbes 1892CC10]

Porphyrio melanotus bellus Gould 1840CC10 [=P. poliocephalus bellusRN72, P. porphyrio bellusWS48; incl. P. melanotus woodwardi Mathews 1912WS48]

Porphyrio melanotus melanotus Temminck 1820CC10 [=P. poliocephalus melanotusRN72, P. porphyrio melanotusCC10; incl. P. chathamensis Sharpe 1893CC10, P. melanotus chathamensisCC10, P. melanotus fletcherae Mathews 1911CC10, P. melanotus neomelanotus Mathews 1911CC10, P. stanleyi Rowley 1875CC10, P. melanotus stanleyiCC10]

Porphyrio poliocephalus (Latham 1801)L98 [=Gallinula poliocephalaCC10, *Caesarornis poliocephalusCC10, Porphyrio porphyrio poliocephalusL81; incl. P. seistanicusL98]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[CC10] Checklist Committee (OSNZ). 2010. Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand, Norfolk and Macquarie Islands, and the Ross Dependency, Antarctica 4th ed. Ornithological Society of New Zealand and Te Papa Press: Wellington.

[G-RGT14] Garcia-R, J. C., G. C. Gibb & S. A. Trewick. 2014. Deep global evolutionary radiation in birds: diversification and trait evolution in the cosmopolitan bird family Rallidae. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 81: 96–108.

[HSS13] Hirschfeld, E., A. Swash & R. Still. 2013. The World’s Rarest Birds. Princeton University Press: Princeton (New Jersey).

[JT12] Jetz, W., G. H. Thomas, J. B. Joy, K. Hartmann & A. Ø. Mooers. 2012. The global diversity of birds in space and time. Nature 491: 444–448.

[L98] Livezey, B. C. 1998. A phylogenetic analysis of the Gruiformes (Aves) based on morphological characters, with an emphasis on the rails (Rallidae). Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B—Biological Sciences 353: 2077–2151.

[L81] Long, J. L. 1981. Introduced Birds of the World: The worldwide history, distribution and influence of birds introduced to new environments. Reed: Sydney.

[O87] Okamura, C. 1987. New facts: Homo and all Vertebrata were born simultaneously in the former Paleozoic in Japan. Original Report of the Okamura Fossil Laboratory 15: 347–573.

[RN72] Rutgers, A., & K. A. Norris (eds) 1972. Encyclopaedia of Aviculture vol. 1. London, Blandford Press.

[S13] Sarasin, F. 1913. Die Vögel Neu-Caledoniens und der Loyalty-Inseln. In: Sarasin, F., & J. Roux (eds) Nova Caledonia: Forschungen in Neu-Caledonian und auf den Loyalty-Inseln. A. Zoologie vol. 1 pt 1 pp. 1–78, pls 1–3. C. W. Kreidels Verlag: Wiesbaden.

[WS48] Whittell, H. M., & D. L. Serventy. 1948. A systematic list of the birds of Western Australia. Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery of Western Australia, Special Publication 1: 1–126.

[WH02] Worthy, T. H., & R. N. Holdaway. 2002. The Lost World of the Moa: Prehistoric life of New Zealand. Indiana University Press: Bloomington (Indiana).

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