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The Purple Swamphen prefers wet areas with high rainfall, swamps, lake edges and damp pastures. The birds often live in pairs and larger communities. It clambers through the reeds, eating the tender shoots and vegetable-like matter. They have been known to eat eggs, ducklings, small fish and invertebrates such as snails. They will often use one foot to bring food to their mouth rather than eat it on the ground. Where they are not persecuted they can become tame and be readily seen in towns and cities.The species has a very loud explosive call described as a "raucous high-pitched screech, with a subdued musical tuk-tuk". It is particularly noisy during the breeding season. Despite being clumsy in flight it can fly long distances, and it is a good swimmer, especially for a bird without webbed feet.