African Birdlife
Lily Livery Image Credit: African Birdlife
Lily Livery Image Credit: African Birdlife

Lily Livery

Allen’s Gallinule

Mark Muller

In early August 2017 a friend posted on the Maun bird forum that he had seen a couple of adult Allen’s Gallinules Porphyrio alleni in the vicinity of his plot on the banks of the Thamalakane River, near Maun. The species’ movements are known to be complex and are poorly understood, but it is considered to be a partial intra-African migrant to seasonally flooded areas in the north and east of the subregion, where it breeds from December to May. Small populations are resident in perennial marshes.

At that time, I had been seeing predominantly sub-adult Allen’s Gallinules when I was out on the river and so was interested to learn that there were adults still present in the vicinity. So one morning I set off early to investigate the bird life out and about on the Thamalakane. My initial aim was to get some decent images of Purple Herons, but I ended up having a wonderfully diverse morning’s birding in an idyllic setting. The weather was calm, the sky cloudless, the water lilies were in full bloom and beautiful in their own right and African Pygmy Geese abounded, swimming and feeding among the lily pads.

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