Distinctive large waterbird, much larger than a moorhen. Deep purplish-blue overall with a very stout red bill, reddish legs, and a white undertail patch. Juvenile duller overall, mostly grayish. Native to the western Mediterranean, but has turned up in northern Europe as well. Inhabits freshwater and brackish marshes, clambering among tall reeds and rushes; also feeds at edges, even out in adjacent wet fields. Very vocal, giving a wide variety of grunting and squealing calls. Formerly part of the species known as Purple Swamphen.