Western Swamphen

Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758) PURSW 4270
Family: Gruiformes > Rallidae

Western Swamphen, Scott Mayson

A striking, large relative of the Moorhen, Western Swamphen breeds in southern Europe. Normally quite sedentary in habits, this is an extremely rare visitor to Britain.

The species was added to the British List on the basis of an individual found at Minsmere, Suffolk on 31 July 2016. It remained there until 5 August, before being relocated in Lincolnshire on 30 August where it remained until 4 January 2017.

Select a topic for more facts and statistics about the Western Swamphen

  • Breeding
  • Winter
357 records observations recorded by BTO surveyors
357 records



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Status and Trends

Population size and trends and patterns of distribution based on BTO surveys and atlases with data collected by BTO volunteers.


This species can be found on the following statutory and conservation listings and schedules.


We have no population estimates for this scarce species.


This species is a rare vagrant and was recorded during Bird Atlas 2007–11 as shown on the map.

Western Swamphen breeding distribution 2008-11
Britain and Ireland Breeding Distribution 2008-2011.
More from the Atlas Mapstore.

Occupied 10-km squares in UK

European Distribution Map

European Breeding Bird Atlas 2


Western Swamphen is a very rare vagrant and these records relate to one or two well-watched individuals.

Weekly occurence of Western Swamphen from BirdTrack
Weekly occurrence patterns (shaded cells) and reporting rates (vertical bars) based on BirdTrack data. Reporting rates give the likelihood of encountering the species each week.


Information about movement and migration based on online bird portals (e.g. BirdTrack), Ringing schemes and tracking studies.


View a summary of recoveries in the Online Ringing Report.


Lifecycle and body size information about Western Swamphen, including statistics on nesting, eggs and lifespan based on BTO ringing and nest recording data.


Sample sizes are too small to report Productivity and Nesting statistics for this species.


Sample sizes are too small to report Biometrics for this species.

Feather measurements and photos on featherbase


For information in another language (where available) click on a linked name

Catalan: polla blava
Czech: slípka modrá
Danish: Sultanhøne
Dutch: Purperkoet
Estonian: sultantait
Finnish: sulttaanikana
French: Talève sultane
German: Purpurhuhn
Hungarian: kék fú
Icelandic: Bláhæna
Italian: Pollo sultano
Latvian: sultanvistina
Lithuanian: paprastoji sultonvište
Norwegian: Sultanhøne
Polish: modrzyk (zwyczajny)
Portuguese: camão
Slovak: sultánka modrá
Slovenian: sultanka
Spanish: Calamón común
Swedish: västlig purpurhöna

Links to more information from ConservationEvidence.com

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