|Family: Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
The Gray-headed Swamphen (see Wikipedia’s entry and eBird’s species entry) is a large bird in the same genus as America’s native Purple Gallinule. Unlike the gallinules belonging to Gallinula, the swamphens seldom swim and do climb up plants. They spend most of their lives walking in marshes and wetlands.
The Gray-headed Swamphen was once considered a subspecies of the Purple Swamphen, but now the six different subspecies have been raised to full species. This one, native in the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent to southern China and northern Thailand, escaped from captivity in the Pembroke Pines area of south Florida in the late 90s and has become established throughout south Florida extending as far north now as the Kissimmee area. Some efforts were made to eradicate it, but the bird’s numbers continue to increase. It’s been a “countable” species on the American Birding Association’s checklist since 2013.