Length: 45-50 cm Common
The habitat is similar to that of the Dusky Moorhen. It swims rarely and wades in the denser reed beds for much of the day. Its diet centres on young reed stems which it bites off at the base. As it does so, it continues to jerk its stubby tail. It will also eat seeds, fruit, insects and molluscs. The Purple Swamphen is aggressive to other water birds. It is territorial.
Both sexes are similar and full colour is kept all the year. They live in territorial groups of 2 to 10. The dominant males defend the territory. The group constructs a single nest in which all the females lay. A nursery nest is also made for the chicks. Eggs: 3 to 8; buff to pale green spotted and blotched with red brown.