The Purple Gallinule occurs from the United States through Central and South America including the West Indies (Raffaele and others 1998). In addition, it also occurs in The Bahamas but to a lesser extent (Raffaele and others 1998). In Puerto Rico, it is an uncommon to rare resident in coastal wetlands (Oberle 2018, Raffaele 1989a) and can be seen regularly in the Humacao Natural Reserve, and Caño Tiburones Natural Reserve (Oberle 2018), but it can also be found at Las Cucharillas marsh in Cataño and the Boquerón Wildlife Refuge (PRDNER 2015). The species presence is unconfirmed on Vieques (Gemmill 2015). Habitat includes rice fields along with freshwater marshes, swamps, and ponds with emergent dense vegetation (Oberle 2018, Raffaele and others 1998). The atlas fieldwork yielded a total of 40 records within 19 hexagons or 4 percent of the 479 total hexagons (see map). Of the 19 hexagons where this species was found, breeding met the atlas definition of confirmed in 32 percent (6) of the hexagons and possible in 68 percent (13) (see map). Purple Gallinule distribution. The map shows the highest breeding code by hexagon and overlaying the ecological life zones in Puerto Rico. Note: percentages may not total 100 due to rounding. 95Purple Gallinule/Gallareta Azul
Previously published reports indicate that the Purple Gallinule breeds primarily from July to September (Raffaele and others 1998). The nest is usually built among cattails or rice grass (Raffaele and others 1998). Atlas results suggest that this species breeds throughout the year with the most breeding activity during March (see chart). Overall, the breeding activity mostly takes place in the lowlands within the subtropical moist forest life zone (84 percent of the hexagons) (see table and map). However, results indicate that it also breeds within the subtropical dry forest life zone (16 percent of the hexagons) (see table and map).
The current population trend of the Purple Gallinule is described as decreasing. In North America, the population trend is decreasing (Butcher and Niven 2007), although populations are stable elsewhere (Wetlands International 2012). This species is currently listed as a species of least concern by the IUCN (BirdLife International 2016). Locally, this species is not listed in any of the threatened categories of PRDNER and USFWS. In Puerto Rico, the Purple Gallinule has a protected habitat in land of 16 percent or 71 km2 of the total area covered by the hexagons where evidence of breeding was found for this species (454 km2).