Porphyrio Brisson, Ornith., i, p. 48, v, p. 522 (1760).
Type by taut., Fulica porphyrio Linn.
The genus Porphyrio contains several species of large Moorhens distinguished by their blue coloration and by a broad frontal shield covering the whole anterior crown and truncated posteriorly. The bill is deep, short and compressed and the small rounded nostril is not placed in a groove; the wing is rounded, the second, third and fourth longest and subequal and the first about equal to the sixth or seventh; the tarsus and toes are very long and powerful; sexes alike.
The genus is represented in Africa, Madagascar, the Mediterranean region, Southern Asia, the Malay Archipelago to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.
Only one species occurs within our limits.