Temporal range: Middle Miocene-Present
|Australasian swamphen, Porphyrio melanotus in New Zealand|
Porphyrio is the swamphen or swamp hen bird genus in the rail family. It includes some smaller species which are usually called "purple gallinules", and which are sometimes separated as genus Porphyrula or united with the gallinules proper (or "moorhens") in Gallinula. The Porphyrio gallinules are distributed in the warmer regions of the world. The group probably originated in Africa in the Middle Miocene, before spreading across the world in waves from the Late Miocene to Pleistocene.
The genus Porphyrio was introduced by the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson in 1760 with the western swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio) as the type species. The genus name Porphyrio is the Latin name for "swamphen", meaning "purple".
The genus contains ten extant species and two that have become extinct in historical times:
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