Purple Gallinules Fighting

Wakodahatchee Wetlands, Boynton Beach, Florida

Story and Photos by Ed Mattis


On entering Wakodahatchee Wetlands at about 9 AM, I stopped to take photos of a nest with two Green Herons and two eggs. Continuing into the wetland I observed some Purple Gallinules walking in the swamp. Suddenly four Gallinules started fighting and I immediately started photographing the proceedings. Shortly after the start, they broke out as two independent pairs fighting each other. I started photographing the pair that was in an open area with no obstructions. I never thought about how a Gallinule would fight, should have realized the feet would be the primary weapon. As the photos show they used the feet to ward off each other and put their opponent in a head lock. As I have never observed this behavior I feel it is worth sharing the experience. The fighting ended with all birds appearing to be in good condition.

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