© Meaghan Manning
Purple Gallinules are brilliantly colored waterbirds related to rails and coots. In Florida, they are year-round residents throughout the southern two-thirds of the state. They also breed in the panhandle and northern part of the state, but individuals head south to escape the cold winter weather. Depending on locale, they can be easy to find walking on lily pads, or they also may skulk in dense aquatic vegetation where they are easier to detect by their cackling, chicken-like sounds. Purple Gallinules feed on seeds, fruits and invertebrates. Wakodahatchee Wetlands and Everglades National Park in south Florida are some of the best trail sites to get close, unobstructed views of this striking bird.
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For more information, including a range map and sound recording, visit The Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds website.
Purple Gallinules prefer freshwater marshes where they forage in dense aquatic vegetation; they are often seen on lily pads.