Grey-headed Swamphen (Porphyrio poliocephalus) is one of the most common birds that can be seen near lake beds or shallow wetlands. One can find them walking awkwardly with their long legs, grazing on the edges of the lake or on the floating vegetation. They flash their white rump when they flick their tails every now and then. They are very vocal and make cacophonic sounds. Though they are described as shy birds, the ones found in Lalbagh, in Bangalore City, seem to be used to the presence of humans. I am fascinated with the bright colours of this bird and wanted to depict it with its habitat on a canvas. To elevate the serene scene, I included lily pads and a lily.

The Sanskrit name kamal indicates the bird’s bluish-purple colour and its preference for lotus plants.

This painting won the ‘Best of the Show’ award in the Artists for Birds – 2018 show organized by Artists for Wildelife and Nature (AWN) in July 2018. It is also a part of a set of paintings that earned me the ‘Artist of the Year – 2019’ award.

Artwork Details:

‘Kamal’, Grey-headed Swamphen, Oil on Canvas, 24”x 18”, Ref Image Credits: Shiju Sugunan