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Posts Tagged ‘Bible Study’

African Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer) by Africaddict

African Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer) by Africaddict

Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven. (Proverbs 23:5)

Using e-Sword’s search for just the word “fly,” there are 15 verses in the AMP, 16 in the ESV, and 25 in the KJV. They can’t all refer to a bird flying around, so let’s see how many actually refer to the birds.

Here are the verses from the KJV:

And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. (Gen_1:20)

Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the LORD? (1Sa_15:19)

And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: and he was seen upon the wings of the wind. (2Sa_22:11)

Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward. (Job_5:7)

He shall fly away as a dream, and shall not be found: yea, he shall be chased away as a vision of the night. (Job_20:8)

Doth the hawk fly by thy wisdom, and stretch her wings toward the south? (Job_39:26)

And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind. (Psa_18:10)

And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. (Psa_55:6)

The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. (Psa_90:10)

Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven. (Pro_23:5)

Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. (Isa_6:2)

And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall hiss for the fly that is in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria. (Isa_7:18)

But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them. (Isa_11:14)

Rock Dove (Columba livia) ©WikiC

Rock Dove (Columba livia) ©WikiC

Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows? (Isa_60:8)

For thus saith the LORD; Behold, he shall fly as an eagle, and shall spread his wings over Moab. (Jer_48:40)

Behold, he shall come up and fly as the eagle, and spread his wings over Bozrah: and at that day shall the heart of the mighty men of Edom be as the heart of a woman in her pangs. (Jer_49:22)

Wherefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against your pillows, wherewith ye there hunt the souls to make them fly, and I will tear them from your arms, and will let the souls go, even the souls that ye hunt to make them fly. (Eze_13:20)

Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. (Dan_9:21)

As for Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird, from the birth, and from the womb, and from the conception. (Hos_9:11)

Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat. (Hab_1:8)

And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. (Rev_12:14)

And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, (Rev_14:6)

And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; (Rev_19:17)

How many do you think directly relate to birds? Some refer to their speed of flying. How many birds were actually named?

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) by Daves BirdingPix

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) by Daves BirdingPix

I trust you enjoy digging into God’s Word more than just reading it. If you have a program like e-Sword (free) or something similiar or a good concordance, you can do these type of searches.

Back to the questions – which verses have birds mentioned?

fowl that may fly above the earth (Gen_1:20)

hawk fly (Job_39:26)

dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. (Psa_55:6)

fly away as an eagle toward heaven. (Pro_23:5)

fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows? (Isa_60:8)

shall fly as an eagle, and shall spread his wings over Moab. (Jer_48:40)

fly as the eagle, and spread his wings over Bozrah (Jer_49:22)

their glory shall fly away like a bird, (Hos_9:11)

fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat. (Hab_1:8)

two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness (Rev_12:14)

all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven (Rev_19:17)

The Bible tells us:

But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you; And the birds of the air, and they will tell you; (Job 12:7 NKJV)

If you had never watched a bird fly, would any of those verses above make sense to you? The Lord not only has given all the numerous birds for us to enjoy, but also to teach us lessons.

Would you understand “…for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven. (Proverbs 23:5) if you had not seen how fast an eagle flies? How fast can we waste our riches?

Thinking about how birds fly, reread the verses above, even the ones that do not mention birds and see if that doesn’t help explain parts of the verse.

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Sunbittern (Eurypyga helias) Left Wing by Lee at Lowry Park Zoo

Sunbittern (Eurypyga helias) Left Wing by Lee at Lowry Park Zoo

While reading in Exodus 25 this week, I noticed that the plan for the Ark is written out in quite specific details. The plans for the mercy seat was to be covered by the outstretched wings of the cherubims of gold.

And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be. (Exodus 25:20 KJV)

I wondered if I had written much about “wings”, so I checked and found only three articles, so far:

I am curious about what can be found, so, let’s see what we can find. Of course my e-Sword is fired up and ready for the searching. Searching first with just “wing”, only 6 verses show up. I Kings 6:24, 6:27; 2 Chronicles 3:11-2 all refer to the wing of the cherub. Isaiah 10:14 actually mentions a bird having its eggs taken and not moving its wing, opening its mouth or peeping. It is used as an illustration.

And my hand hath found as a nest the riches of the people: and as one gathereth eggs that are left, have I gathered all the earth; and there was none that moved the wing, or opened the mouth, or peeped. (Isaiah 10:14 KJV)

Ezekiel 17:23 is the verse used in Fowl (Birds) of Every Wing.

Searching again with “wings” this time shows 64 verses (KJV). Again the cherubims are mentioned in Exodus 25:20, 37:9; I Kings 6:26, 8:6, 8:7; 1 Chronicles 28:18; 2 Chronicles 3:11, 3:13, 5:7-8. Cherubim and serephim wings are again mentioned later in the prophecies of Isaiah (Isa 6:2, 8:8, 18:1, and 40:31), Ezekiel (Exe 1:6-11, 1:23-25, 3:13, 10:5-21, 11:22) and Daniel.  Ezekiel 17:3 & 7 mention “A great eagle with great wings, longwinged, full of feathers” and “another great eagle with great wings and many feathers” Daniel 7:4 and 6 mention “eagle’s wings” and “wings of a fowl

Wedge-tailed Eagle (Aquila audax) ©WikiC

Wedge-tailed Eagle (Aquila audax) ©WikiC

Eagles’ wings are mentioned several more times:

Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles‘ wings, and brought you unto myself. (Exodus 19:4 KJV)

As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: (Deuteronomy 32:11 KJV)

Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven. (Proverbs 23:5 KJV)

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31 KJV)

For thus saith the LORD; Behold, he shall fly as an eagle, and shall spread his wings over Moab. (Jeremiah 48:40 KJV)

Behold, he shall come up and fly as the eagle, and spread his wings over Bozrah: and at that day shall the heart of the mighty men of Edom be as the heart of a woman in her pangs. (Jeremiah 49:22 KJV)

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) by Nikhil Devasar

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) by Nikhil Devasar

Of course other birds are named such as:

Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich? (Job 39:13 KJV)

Doth the hawk fly by thy wisdom, and stretch her wings toward the south? (Job 39:26 KJV)

And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. (Psalms 55:6 KJV)

Though ye have lien among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold. (Psalms 68:13 KJV)

Then lifted I up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came out two women, and the wind was in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven. (Zechariah 5:9 KJV)

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! (Matthew 23:37 KJV)

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! (Luke 13:34 KJV)

Baby Chick Peeping Out From Under His Mom's Wing - ©©

Baby Chick Peeping Out From Under His Mom’s Wing – ©©

Other references to wings:

  • wings of the wind – 2 Samuel 22:11
  • under whose wings thou art come to trust. – Ruth 2:12
  • hide me under the shadow of thy wings – Psalm 17:8
  • fly upon the wings of the wind – Psalm 18:10
  • trust under the shadow of thy wings. – Psalm 36:7
  • in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge – Psalm 57:1
  • rust in the covert of thy wings – Psalm 61:4
  • in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice – Psalm 63:7
  • He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust – Psalm 91:4
  • the wings of the wind – Psalm 104:3
  • If I take the wings of the morning – Psalm 139:9
  • for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter. - Ecclesiastes 10:20
  • stretching out of his wings – Isaiah 8:8
  • shadowing with wings – Isaiah 18:1
  • Give wings unto Moab, that it may flee and get away – Jeremiah 48:9
  • The wind hath bound her up in her wings – Hosea 4:19
  • healing in his wings – Malachi 4:2

That is an interesting survey of the verses with wing or wings in them. Now I will have to get busy and use this information in some future articles. There are definitely some trends that can be seen. Do you see them? Shadow, wind, healing and trust, just to name a few.

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Birds of the Bible

Wordless Birds

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American Golden Plover (Pluvialis dominica) at National Aviary by Lee

American Golden Plover (Pluvialis dominica) at National Aviary by Lee

From the article on Kosher Animals that we have been looking at with our Bird Name Study, the Plover is listed. I haven’t added a page for this bird so far, so let’s see what we can learn about this bird.

Under the Birds section they give a list of birds from the Septuagint and that is where we find the plover listed:

“The Septuagint versions of the lists are more helpful, as in almost all cases the bird is clearly identifiable:

charadrios (plover)”

They show that it appears in the LXX in Deuteronomy 14:18 and in Leviticus 11:19. Of course I can’t read it, but here it is from the LXX-BYZ on my e-Sword.

Deu 14:18 kaiG2532 CONJ pelekana N-ASM kaiG2532 CONJ charadrion N-ASM kaiG2532 CONJ taG3588 T-APN omoiaG3664 A-APN autoG846 D-DSM kaiG2532 CONJ porphuriona N-ASM kaiG2532 CONJ nukterida N-ASF

I do see the word charadrion in it though. Looking at my database of birds from IOC Version 3.2, the CHARADRIIFORMES Order came up. That is the Shorebirds and Allies Order. The Plover is definitely in that group. The Plovers are in the Charadriidae Family. The Plovers are there and also the Lapwings. Yet, checking the compare mode of all the Bible versions loaded, the Plover is not in any other translation. (at least in my English versions that I can read)

That bird is either translated as Lapwing or Hoopoe. This is going to take some more digging. I have already written about both of those birds.

The KJV+ uses H1744

And the stork, H2624 and the heron H601 after her kind, H4327 and the lapwing, H1744 and the bat. H5847 (Deuteronomy 14:18 KJV+)

H1744
דּוּכּיפת
dûkı̂yphath
doo-kee-fath’
Of uncertain derivation; the hoopoe or else the grouse: – lapwing.
Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries

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The BTSCTVM (which combines Brown Driver Briggs, Thayers, the KJV Concordance, and Strong’s TMV) has:

- Original: דּוּכּיפת
- Transliteration: Duwkiyphath
- Phonetic: doo-kee-fath’
- Definition:
1. unclean bird (probably hoopoe)
- Origin: of uncertain derivation
- TWOT entry: 414
- Part(s) of speech: Noun Feminine

- Strong’s: Of uncertain derivation; the hoopoe or else the grouse: – lapwing.
Total KJV Occurrences: 2
• lapwing, 2
Lev_11:19; Deu_14:18

From what is above, there is really no need to make a new Plover page. Since Plovers and Lapwings are in the same family, Charadriidae and many of the Scriptures say frequently, “their kind,” that is exactly what they are. “Same Kinds” (Oh, no! Did you notice they threw the “grouse” into that last definition. Later.)

We have also written about the Hoopoe, which is a totally different Order and Family.

Black-bellied Plover - Ft DeSoto 11-22-12 Thanksgiving by Lee

Black-bellied Plover – Ft DeSoto 11-22-12 Thanksgiving

Plovers are a widely distributed group of wading birds belonging to the subfamily Charadriinae. There are about 40 species in the subfamily, most of them called “plover” or “dotterel”. The closely related lapwing subfamily, Vanellinae, comprises another 20-odd species.

Plovers are found throughout the world, and are characterised by relatively short bills. They hunt by sight, rather than by feel as longer-billed waders like snipes do.

They feed mainly on insects, worms or other invertebrates, depending on habitat, which are obtained by a run-and-pause technique, rather than the steady probing of some other wader groups.

The plover group of birds has a distraction display subcategorized as false brooding, pretending to change position, to sit on an imaginary nest site.

A group of plovers may be referred to as a stand, wing, or congregation. A group of dotterels may be referred to as a trip. (Wikipedia)

Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) by Nik

Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) by Nikhil Devasar

The versions of the Bible that list the Lapwing are: AKJV, Bishops, ECB, IAV, KJV, TRC, Tyndale, UKJV, Webster and the YLT.

Here is a very interesting version of Deut. 14:16:

The bittern, and the charadrion, every one in their kind: the houp also and the bat. (Deuteronomy 14:18 DRB)

That version actually mentions the Charadrion and the “houp,” which is the Hoopoe.

If you look through the birds in the Charadriidae Family you will find that the Lord was gracious and omniscient in his creative design of those species. I trust you never tire of studying God’s Word.

In your studies about the birds and other topics in the Bible, don’t forget one of the most important verses:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16 KJV)

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Purple Gallinule by Lee at Lake Hollingsworth by Lee

Purple Gallinule by Lee at Lake Hollingsworth by Lee

And the swan, and the bittern, and the porphyrion. (Leviticus 11:18 DRB)

And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle, (Leviticus 11:18 KJV)

the white owl, the jackdaw, and the carrion vulture; (Leviticus 11:18)

et cygnum, et onocrotalum, et porphyrionem, (Leviticus 11:18 clVulgate)

A quote from the article mentioned in Birds of the Bible – Names of Birds Study Introduction from Kosher Animals – Birds about the “porphyrion”:

“An additional complexity arises from the fact that the porphyrion has not yet been identified, and classical Greek literature merely identifies a number of species that are not the porphyrion, including the peacock, grouse, and robin, and implies that the porphyrion is the cousin of the kingfisher; from these meagre clarifications, the porphyrion can only be identified as anything from the Lilac-breasted Roller, Indian Roller, or Northern Carmine Bee-eater, to the flamingo.”

This caused studying to find out more about this. Working so much with the names of birds of the world that I list, a search of that database came up with these Latin named birds with similar spelling and the Waterhen listed in some Bible translations, so it is listed also.:

Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio)
African Swamphen (Porphyrio madagascariensis)
White Swamphen (Porphyrio albus) † Extinct
Mohoau (Porphyrio mantelli) † Extinct
Takahe (Porphyrio hochstetteri)
Allen’s Gallinule (Porphyrio alleni)
Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinicus)
Azure Gallinule (Porphyrio flavirostris)

Purple-throated Cotinga (Porphyrolaema porphyrolaema)  ©Cincinnati Zoo
Blue Finch (Porphyrospiza caerulescens) IBC

White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus)

Interesting. The Cotinga and the Finch, I believe could be eliminated as birds not on the unclean list. The birds left are all part of the Rails, Crakes and Coots-Rallidae Family. Also looking back over previous posts, the Water-hen was written about in Birds of the Bible – Water-hen or Water hen. Some insight was discovered in that article.

Which bird is intended by the Bible? I have no definite answer. But, for the sake of learning more about birds, let’s look at the ones left on the list above. Notice that “purple” does show up in most of these birds.

Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio) by Bob-Nan

Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio) by Bob-Nan

The Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio), also known as the Pūkeko, African Purple Swamphen, Purple Moorhen, Purple Gallinule or Purple Coot, is a large bird in the family Rallidae (rails). From its name in French, talève sultane, it is also known as the Sultana Bird. This chicken-sized bird, with its huge feet, bright plumage and red bill and frontal shield is easily-recognisable in its native range. It should not be confused with the American Purple Gallinule, Porphyrio martinica.

There are 13 or more subspecies of the Purple Swamphen (depending on the authority) which differ mainly in plumage colour.
The species makes loud, quick, bleating and hooting calls, which are hardly bird-like in tone. It is particularly noisy during the breeding season. Despite being clumsy in flight it can fly long distances, and it is a good swimmer, especially for a bird without webbed feet.

The Purple Swamphen is occasionally recorded as an escape from captivity in Britain and elsewhere. An introduced population exists in Florida, though state wildlife biologists are trying to eradicate the birds.

The Purple Swamphen was introduced to North America in the late 1990s due to avicultural escapes in the Pembroke Pines, Florida area. The birds multiplied and can now be found in many areas of southern Florida. Ornithological authorities consider it likely that the swamphen will become an established part of Florida’s avifauna.

The Florida birds are mostly or entirely of the gray-headed race poliocephalus, native to the area around the Caspian Sea.

The most common call from the Florida birds is a loud, high-pitched “creek,” often doubled.

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White Swamphen (Lord Howe) (Porphyrio albus) † Extinct ©WikiC

White Swamphen (Lord Howe) (Porphyrio albus) † Extinct ©WikiC

The Lord Howe Swamphen or White Gallinule, Porphyrio albus, was a large bird in the family Rallidae endemic to Lord Howe Island, Australia. It was similar to the Purple Swamphen, but with shorter and more robust legs and toes. Its plumage was white, sometimes with a few blue feathers, and it was probably flightless, like its other close relative the Takahe. Similar, entirely blue birds were also described, but it is not clear if they belong to this species or are simply Purple Swamphens (which can also be found on the island). The feathers on the two extant skins are white.

This bird was first described by John White in his Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales (1790), which also contained an illustration. It was not uncommon when the bird was first described, but was soon hunted to extinction by whalers and sailors.
There are two skins of the bird in existence, one in the collection of the World Museum in Liverpool and the other in the Naturhistorisches Museum Wien in Vienna. There are also several paintings, and some subfossil bones.
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Mohoau (Porphyrio mantelli) † Extinct (North Island Takahē) ©WikiC

Mohoau (Porphyrio mantelli) † Extinct (North Island Takahē) ©WikiC

The North Island Takahē or Mōho, or Mohoau (Porphyrio mantelli) is an extinct rail that was found in the North Island of New Zealand. This flightless species is known from subfossils from a number of archeological sites and from one possible 1894 record (Phillipps, 1959). It appeared to have been even larger than the South Island Takahē and, if it did survive until the 1890s, would have been the largest rail in historic times. The decline of the species has generally been attributed to the increasing incursion of forest into the alpine grasslands through the Holocene, although hunting by the Māori also played a major role.

Traditionally the North Island Takahē was considered conspecific with the threatened South Island Takahe P. hochstetteri. Trewick (1996) presented evidence that the two taxa were independently derived from flying ancestors, so proved to be separate species.
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Takahe (Porphyrio hochstetteri) by Nick Talbot

Takahe (Porphyrio hochstetteri) by Nick Talbot

The Takahē (Porphyrio hochstetteri) or South Island Takahē (Porphyrio hochstetteri) is a flightless bird indigenous to New Zealand and belonging to the rail family. It was thought to be extinct after the last four known specimens were taken in 1898. However, after a carefully planned search effort the bird was rediscovered by Geoffrey Orbell near Lake Te Anau in the Murchison Mountains, South Island, on 20 November 1948.

The Takahē is the largest living member of the Rallidae family. Its overall length averages 63 cm (24.8 in) and its average weight is about 2.7 kg (6 lbs) in males and 2.3 kg (5 lb) in females, ranging from 1.8-4.2 kg (4-9.2 lbs).  The standing height is around 50 cm (20 in). It is a stocky bird, with reduced wings, strong legs and a massive bill.

The adult Takahē is mainly purple-blue in colour, with a greenish back and inner wings. It has a red frontal shield and red-based pink bill. The legs are pink. This is a noisy species with a loud clowp call. Contact call is easely confused with that of the Weka (Gallirallus australis), but is generally more resonant and deeper.
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Allen's Gallinule (Porphyrio alleni) ©WikiC

Allen’s Gallinule (Porphyrio alleni) ©WikiC

The Allen’s Gallinule (Porphyrio alleni), formerly known as the Lesser Gallinule is a small waterbird of the family Rallidae. Its former binomial name is Porphyrula alleni.
Its breeding habitat is marshes and lakes in sub-Saharan Africa. They build a floating nest in marshes and swamps, laying 2-5 eggs. This species is partially migratory, undertaking seasonal movements.
Remarkably, this apparently weakly flying bird is not only the only species with a purely sub-Saharan African range to have reached Great Britain, but has done so twice. It has also occurred as a vagrant in several other European countries.

They are similar in size to the only slightly larger Water Rail. The Allen’s Gallinule has a short red bill, greenish back and purple upperparts. They have red legs with long toes, and a short tail which is white with a dark central bar underneath. Breeding males have a blue frontal shield, which is green in the female. Immature Allen’s Gallinules are sandy brown with a buff undertail. The downy chicks are black, as with all rails.
These birds probe with their bill in mud or shallow water, also picking up food by sight. They mainly eat insects and aquatic animals. They nod their heads as they swim.

Allen’s Gallinules are very secretive in the breeding season, particularly in the dense swamps they favour, and are mostly heard rather than seen. They are then rather noisy birds, with a sharp nasal pruk call. They can be easier to see on migration or when wintering.

This bird is named after British naval officer Rear-Admiral William Allen (1770-1843).

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Framed Purple Gallinule by Dan

Framed Purple Gallinule by Dan

The (American) Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinicus) is a “swamp hen” in the rail family Rallidae. This is a medium-sized rail, measuring 26–37 cm (10–15 in) in length, spanning 50–61 cm (20–24 in) across the wings and weighing 141–305 g (5.0–10.8 oz). Males, averaging 257 g (9.1 oz) in mass, are slightly larger than females, at 215 g (7.6 oz) on average. The adult Purple gallinule has big yellow feet, purple-blue plumage with a green back, and red and yellow bill. It has a pale blue forehead shield and white undertail. Darkness or low light can dim the bright purple-blue plumage of the adult to make them look dusky or brownish, although the forehead shield color differentiates them from similar species such as Common Gallinules.

Juveniles are brown overall with a brownish olive back. These gallinules will fly short distances with dangling legs. Their breeding habitat is warm swamps and marshes in southeastern states of the United States and the tropical regions of Central America, the Caribbean and northern South America. This species is resident in southern Florida and the tropics, but most American birds are migratory, wintering south to Argentina. The nest is a floating structure in a marsh. Five to ten eggs are laid. Their coloration is buff with brown spots.

The diet of these rails is omnivorous, being known to include a wide variety of plant and animal matter, including seeds, leaves and fruits of both aquatic and terrestrial plants, as well as insects, frogs, snails, spiders, earthworms and fish. They have also been known to eat the eggs and young of other birds.

This species is a very rare vagrant to western Europe and southwestern Africa. There is a similar species in southern Europe, the Purple Swamphen, Porphyrio porphyrio, but that bird is much larger.

This species is sometimes referred to by the alternative name, Yellow-legged Gallinule.
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Azure Gallinule (Porphyrio flavirostris) ©Arthur Grosset

Azure Gallinule (Porphyrio flavirostris) ©Arthur Grosset

The Azure Gallinule (Porphyrio flavirostris) is a species of bird in the Rallidae family. It is found in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States, and Venezuela.

The bill and frontal shield is a pale greenish-yellow.The wing coverts are greenish-blue while the back and tail are browner. The throat and underparts are white while the legs are yellow.

It is found in freshwater marshes where there is floating vegetation and this includes marshy edges of rivers and lakes. Nest is an open cup of leaves concealed in dense marsh vegetation. Clutch size is 4-5 eggs, incubated by both parents. Diet consists of invertebrates, insects and seeds taken from water and vegetation. Climbs in reed stems to bend them over water to pick up food.
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White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus) by Nikhil Devasar

White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus) by Nikhil Devasar

The White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus) is a waterbird of the rail and crake family Rallidae that is widely distributed across Southeast Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. They are dark slaty birds with a clean white face, breast and belly. They are somewhat bolder than most other rails and are often seen stepping slowly with their tail cocked upright in open marshes or even drains near busy roads. They are largely crepuscular in activity and during the breeding season, just after the first rains, make loud and repetitive croaking calls.

Adult White-breasted Waterhens have mainly dark grey upperparts and flanks, and a white face, neck and breast. The lower belly and undertail are cinnamon coloured. The body is flattened laterally to allow easier passage through the reeds or undergrowth. They have long toes, a short tail and a yellow bill and legs. Sexes are similar but females measure slightly smaller. Immature birds are much duller versions of the adults. The downy chicks are black, as with all rails.

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The other reference to the Porphyrion is found in Deuteronomy 14:16 with that list of unclean birds. Again, the translations give a wide variation in which bird is meant. Swan, owl, water-hen,

The little owl and the great owl and the water-hen; (Deuteronomy 14:16 BBE)

the little owl and the great owl, the water hen (Deuteronomy 14:16 NRSVA)

and G2532 heronG2064.1 and G2532 swanG2945.2 and G2532 ibisG2395.1 (Deuteronomy 14:16 ABP+)

The little owl, the great owl, the horned owl, (Deuteronomy 14:16 AMP)

The litle Owle, the great Owle, nor the Redshanke. (Deuteronomy 14:16 Bishops)

Neither the litle owle, nor the great owle, nor the redshanke, (Deuteronomy 14:16 Geneva)

and the heron, and the swan, and the stork, (Deuteronomy 14:16 Brenton)

herodium ac cygnum, et ibin, (Deuteronomy 14:16 clVulgate) (Cygnus is the Latin word for swan, the romanized form of the ancient Greek κύκνος (kyknos) “swan”.)
the little owl, and the eared owl, and the barn owl, (Deuteronomy 14:16 LITV-TSP)

The little owl, and the great owl, and the swan, (Deuteronomy 14:16 KJV)

(H853) The little owl,H3563 and the great owl,H3244 and the swan,H8580 (Deuteronomy 14:16 KJV+)

the little H3563b owl H3563b, the N1great H3244 owl H3244, the white H8580 owl H8580, (Deuteronomy 14:16 NASB+) (This translation of H8580 amazes me. They translate it white owl yet here is what it says in H8580)

H8580 (Strong’s LXX)
תּנשׁמת
tanshemeth
tan-sheh’-meth
From H5395; properly a hard breather, that is, the name of two unclean creatures, a lizard and a bird (both perhaps from changing color through their irascibility), probably the tree toad and the water hen: – mole, swan.

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But, if you look at some of the others:

H8580 (Brown-Driver-Briggs)
תּנשׁמת
tanshemeth
BDB Definition:
1) an unclean animal of some kind
1a) an unclean bird
1a1) perhaps the ibis, water-hen, species of owl, barn owl
1b) an unclean lizard
1b1) perhaps the chameleon
1c) perhaps an extinct lizard or bird, exact meaning unknown
Part of Speech: noun feminine
A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: from H5395
Same Word by TWOT Number: 1433b

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H8580 (This is a combo of many BTSCTVM+)

- Original: תּנשׁמת
- Transliteration: Tanshemeth
- Phonetic: tan-sheh’-meth
- Definition:
1. an unclean animal of some kind
a. an unclean bird
1. perhaps the ibis, water-hen, species of owl, barn owl
b. an unclean lizard
1. perhaps the chameleon
c. perhaps an extinct lizard or bird, exact meaning unknown
- Origin: from H5395
- TWOT entry: 1433b
- Part(s) of speech: Noun Feminine

- Strong’s: From H5395; properly a hard breather that is the name of two unclean creatures a lizard and a bird (both perhaps from changing color through their irascibility) probably the tree toad and the water hen: – mole swan.
Total KJV Occurrences: 3
• mole, 1
Lev_11:30

• swan, 2
Lev_11:18; Deu_14:16

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Well, I don’t know about you, but I still don’t have a definite answer. Though, isn’t it enjoyable to study God’s Word. Like it was posted before, what ever bird it was is not as important as the obedience that was involved. They knew which birds they were not to eat and they were expected to obey. Today, when we read the Bible, we come across clear commands and we are expected to obey. (Bonus – I was birdwatching in Scripture)

And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22 KJV)

Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (Romans 6:16 KJV)

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See also:

Birds of the Bible

Birds of the Bible – Water-hen

Birds of the Bible – Swans

Birds of the World - Rallidae – Rails, Crakes & Coots

List of animals in the Bible - Wikipedia

Porphyrion (Greek Mythology) – Wikipedia

(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources, plus the e-Sword program)

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