The “Jesus Bird”

Another interesting bird found along the Anhinga Trail in Everglades NP, was the Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinicus). It is also called a “swamp hen”, or yellow-legged gallinule. But I’ve also heard it called “the Jesus bird”. Why this name? Because of it’s behavior. If you watch a purple gallinule foraging in swamps and marshes, it will often seemingly run along, on top of the water! In reality, it is running across lily pads and other flora that grows in the water. And it is able to do this because of the extremely long toes.

The purple gallinule is in the rail family. The adult purple gallinule has big yellow feet, purple-blue plumage with a green back, and red and yellow bill. It has a pale blue forehead shield and white undertail. The forehead shield color differentiates them from similar species such as the male Common Gallinule, which has a bright red shield. I’ll share a few more purple gallinule images in another post, but today’s post is a series of shots as the bird ran across the water, in front of me:

Purple Gallinule running

Purple Gallinule running

Purple Gallinule running

Purple Gallinule running

Purple Gallinule running

I think you’d agree that the purple gallinule is not only a beautiful bird, but one with an interesting habit!

Photography Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D body
  • Canon EF100mm-400mm, f/4.5 – f/5.6 IS lens, shot at 250mm
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 400
  • Aperture f/8
  • Shutter 1/800 sec. – 1/1000 sec.

 

 

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Posted in 2014, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, National Park, Nature Photography, Travel Photography
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