Changes to the British List (24 August 17)
24 August 2017
Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio
Adult, Minsmere RSPB reserve, Suffolk, 31 July to 5 August 2016, and Alkborough Flats, Lincolnshire, 30 August to 4 January 2017.
Purple Swamphen, Minsmere, Suffolk, August 2016 © Jim Almond/Shropshire Birder
This individual was first found in Suffolk in late July 2016, where it remained for several days, before being relocated in Lincolnshire some weeks later and where it lingered until early January 2017.
Swamphens have been observed in Britain previously, but these records have involved either known escapes or other/uncertain taxa, and so placed in Category E.
In contrast, the Minsmere bird appeared at a time when increasing numbers of Purple Swamphens have been located in northwest continental Europe, including northern France. The increase in extralimital records is due to a recent expansion of some populations, possibly stimulated and/or assisted by several reintroduction schemes in southern Spain, coupled with the creation and protection of suitable wetland breeding habitat. This first British record accords with an emerging pattern of vagrancy for the species.
Resident in southwest Europe and northwest Africa.
Purple Swamphen should be placed after Sora Porzana carolina on the British List.
Further details of this decision will be published as part of the BOURC’s 48th report expected to be published in Ibis in January 2018. Upon publication of these decisions, the British List stands at 610 species (Category A = 592; Category B = 8; Category C = 10).