Campo Troupial - Icterus jamacaii
List of Birds

Site contents:
in Itapajé, Ceará,
100 km from Fortaleza.

The avifauna is listed in
Birds of NE Brazil.
frontpage image
Threatened species
Many species of NE Brazil are threatened by extinction. Our reserve helps to protect some of them:
Birds of NE Brazil
in Caatinga, Cerrado,
and other habitats
Purple Gallinule
Porphyrio martinicus
Frango d'agua azul
Family: Rallidae

The species is monotypic, and has a vast range, which extends from Argentina to N America, and includes all of Brazil. RPPN Mãe-da-lua.

References: Hellmayr and Conover 1942, p. 403; Sick 1997; Taylor 1998; Clements 2007. Classification according to SACC 03-Feb-2012.

Synonyms: Fulica martinicaLINNAEUS 1766.

Name/classification in other taxonomic systems:
Porphyrio martinicaCBRO 2011;
Porphyrio martinicusIOC V2.11.

American Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinicus)
06/04/2006; Fazenda Canaã, Pentecoste, Ceará, Brazil. 200 mm f2.8 lens.

Figure 1. The Purple Gallinule is one of the most common waterbirds in the interior of NE Brazil. In the rainy season (provided that it rains enough), Porphyrio martinicus breeds in the vegetation bordering reservoirs and lakes in the Caatinga. I made the photo above from a mobile hide, which was temporarily placed in the shallow lake of Fazenda Canaã, as shown here.

Migration: In the dry season, most water bodies in the Caatinga dry up, and many waterbirds leave the region. The Purple Gallinule also migrates, but I did not find detailed information about its destination.

Conservation: The Purple Gallinule is sought after by hunters. This could threaten the species in the long run. On the other hand, it appears that at least in the interior of Ceará, the (largely man-made) habitat is not endangered.

More information about Porphyrio martinicus can be found in Taylor 1998.

To top of page
Song of Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinicus)
23/03/2008, at dusk. RPPN Mãe-da-lua, Itapajé, Ceará, Brazil. h1277. (c) H. Redies.
Sound h1277. Vocalizations of Purple Gallinules, recorded close to a water reservoir. The spectrogram shows a song initiated by a bird that flew from one side of the reservoir to the other, presumably to meet a conspecific. It is not clear whether the last part of the vocalization is from this same inidividual, or from the gallinule at the other side. See also h1270 below.

Then, starting around 11 secs into the recording, there is a similar song (not shown on sonogram), apparently from a different bird. At the end, this song blends with vocalizations from a Least Grebe Tachybaptus dominicus.

Also lots of frog and insect sounds.

To top of page

23/03/2008, at dusk. RPPN Mãe-da-lua, Itapajé, Ceará, Brazil. h1270. (c) H. Redies.
Sound h1270. Same location as h1277, a few minutes later. Again, a Purple Gallinule vocalized while flying over the reservoir. It seems that the notes with alternating pitch in the second half of the sound are produced by another bird.

To clarify whether there were really two vocalizing birds, I transformed the recording into an artificial sound, by changing the playback sampling rate from the original 44.1 kHz to 22.05 kHz. This results in a "slower" sound (speed divided by 2), which a human can follow more easily. Of course, the sound also becomes "lower" (frequencies divided by 2). Here it is:

My impression was that two birds were involved.

To top of page

27/03/2008. RPPN Mãe-da-lua, Itapajé, Ceará, Brazil. h1276. (c) H. Redies.
Sound h1276. Late afternoon at water reservoir. Bird not seen.

To eliminate insect noise, the recording was band-pass filtered (100-5500 Hz, sox V14.3.2, sinc filter).

To top of page