• Skip to Content
  • Skip to Main Navigation
  • Skip to Local Navigation
  • Skip to Search
  • Skip to Sitemap
  • Skip to Footer
Help develop a Bird ID tool!

Purple Gallinule


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A beautifully colored bird of southern and tropical wetlands, the Purple Gallinule can be see walking on top of floating vegetation or clambering through dense shrubs. Its extremely long toes help it walk on lily pads without sinking.

Sign up for eNews ad
Subscribe to Living Bird Magazine


Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Swims on surface of water like a duck and walks on floating plants rather like a chicken.
  • Dark purple head, neck, and underside.
  • Green back.
  • Red bill tipped with yellow.
  • Light blue forehead.
  • Bill triangular like a chicken's, not flat like a duck's.
  • Legs yellow.

Immature Description

Downy chick is black. Juvenile is buffy tan instead of purple, with greenish back, dull bill, dull blue frontal shield, and yellow legs.

Range Map Help

Purple Gallinule Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

Field MarksHelp

Similar Species

  • Common Gallinule lacks the purple and has a white stripe along its side. Juvenile moorhen has a white side stripe, is duskier overall, and lacks colorful wings and blue frontal shield.