Saturday, June 17, 2017

Purple Swamphen

Purple Swamphen, Porphyrio porphyrio, also known as Sultana Bird, is a rare bird breading in Menorca in the last years with its large feet, bright plumage and red bill and frontal shield is easily recognisable in its native range.

 Photographer: Barbara Salva.

Romans kept purple swamphens as decorative birds at large villas and expensive houses. They were regarded as noble birds and were among the few birds that Romans did not eat. A purple swamphen is depicted at the bottom of the famous garden fresco from Pompeii.

Plinii the Elder already (AD 23 – AD 79), mentioned in his work Naturalis Historia that either Majorca and Menorca provided the Romans with those birds.