Marquesas swamphen

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Marquesas swamphen
Paul Gauguin - Le Sorcier d'Hiva Oa2.jpg
Paul Gauguin's 1902 probable depiction of the Marquesan swamphen (Porphyrio paepae) being killed by a dog.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Gruiformes
Family: Rallidae
Genus: Porphyrio
Species: P. paepae
Binomial name
Porphyrio paepae
Steadman 1988

Marquesas swamphen (Porphyrio paepae) is a presumably extinct species of swamphen from the Marquesas Islands Hiva Oa and Tahuata. It was originally described from 600-year-old subfossil remains from Tahuata and Hiva Oa. It may have survived to around 1900; in the lower right corner of Paul Gauguin's 1902 painting Le Sorcier d'Hiva Oa ou le Marquisien à la cape rouge[2] there is a bird which resembles native descriptions of Porphyrio paepae. Thor Heyerdahl claimed to have seen a similar flightless bird on Hiva Oa in 1937.[3]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2014). "Marquesas swamphen". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved April 20, 2015. 
  2. ^ «[…] d’Hiva Oa […]» as such, is pronounced /diˈva oˈa/, while the Polynesian h is always a /ɦ/: this shows Gauguin had a very poor knowledge of the Polynesian languages. He should have written de Hiva Oa. Despite Polynesian inscriptions, often approximative, Gauguin seems to have been unable to speak any Polynesian languages, as it is said locally.[citation needed]
  3. ^ Hume, J. P.; Walters, M. (2012). Extinct Birds. London: A & C Black. pp. 116–117. ISBN 1-4081-5725-X. 


  • Steadman, David W. (2006). Extinction and Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 101, 105–6, 127, 243–4, 312–5, 523. ISBN 0-226-77142-3.