Porphyrio poliocephalus, Latham.
902. :- Jerdon's Birds of India, Vol. II, p. 713 ; Butler, Guzerat; Stray Feathers, Vol. IV, p. 20 ; Deccan, Stray Feathers, Vol. IX, p. 431 ; Murray's Vertebrate Zoology of Sind, p. 260 ; Swinhoe and Barnes, Central India; Ibis, 1885, p. 135.
THE PURPLE COOT.
Length, 18 to 19 ; expanse, 30 to 32; wing, 10; tail, 4 ; tarsus, 35.
Bill red, culmen darker, a blood-red spot at base of each mandible ; casque cherry-red; irides dull red ; legs dull pale brick-red.
Lores, round the eyes, cheeks, head, and nape, purple tinged with grey on the sides, and gradually passing into the purer purple of the hind-neck, back, and upper tail-coverts ; wing-coverts pale blue; the quills dull Antwerp-blue,dusky on their inner webs; tail black, the feathers slightly edged dull blue; beneath, the lower parts of the cheeks, chin, and throat, pale coerulean-blue, more or less edged with purplish-grey, and passing into the purer blue of the lower neck and breast; abdomen, sides of the body and vent abruptly deep purple; the thigh-coverts dull blue; under taiI-covcrts pure white ; lower wing-coverts dull pale blue ; quills and tail beneath glossy blackish.
The Purple Coot occurs abundantly in all suitable localities, throughout the region. It is a permanent resident, breeding from July to September; the nest is composed of grass and weeds, heaped together, with a central depression ; it is generally float¬ing, but occasionally it is found on the ground, in a dense patch , of grass or reeds.
The eggs, eight or ten in number, are oval in shape, but they vary somewhat. The ground color of the egg, when fresh, is a pure salmon or pinkish-stone color, but they rapidly fade. The markings consist of spots, streaks, and blotches of rich red color, with underlying clouds of pale purple. They have no gloss.
They measure P93 inches in length by about 1'39 in breadth.