Purple Swamp hens (aka Pukekp) are native to Australia and can be found in New Zealand and New Guinea. These impressive beauties are about the size of a chicken and are proficient swimmers, but prefer to skirt the edge of freshwater swamps, streams, and marshes. Swamphens have large red-orange legs, webless feet, very colorful plumage, and a bright red beak. They have beautiful blue-to-purple plumage that graduates to a dusky gray. White feathers can be spotted as the Swamphen walks because it flicks its tail up and down when it moves, revealing the white under feathering.
Purple swamphens are very noisy in the breeding season. It is very clumsy in flight but can still fly long distances. . Romans kept Purple Swamphens at their villas and mansions as ornamental birds. Swamphens can be mixed with older waterfowl but they do not swim in a pond, they wade. Among soft shoots of reeds, frogs, and snails, the swamphens have also been known to eat small ducklings if they can catch them with their long toes that they use to hold their food while they eat.
Swamphens can be found in small groups the generally consist of more males than females. Raising two broods annually, all members of the swamphen family share in the incubation and care of the young.
They do well in warmer climates but would need to be protected from the extreme cold because their feet can freeze. In captivity, Swamphens eat canned cat food, soaked cat food, fruit, shrimp, and other types of meat.