78cm to 97cm
120cm to 152cm
500g to 1.35kg
This is a summer visitor which is easy to identify as it flies over the reed beds. Probably the best two places to get views are Albufera and Albufereta where they are regularly spotted. It is worth noting that at Albufera you can also see Night and Squacco Herons as well as Little Bitterns.
Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea) is a wading bird in the heron family Ardeidae, breeding in Africa, central and southern Europe, and southern and eastern Asia. The European populations are migratory, wintering in tropical Africa. The purple heron is a large bird, 78–97 cm (31–38 in) in length with a standing height from 70 to 94 cm (28 to 37 in) and a 120–152 cm (47–60 in) wingspan. However, it is slender for its size, weighing only 0.5–1.35 kg (1.1–3.0 lb). It is somewhat smaller than the grey heron, from which it can be distinguished by its darker reddish-brown plumage and, in adults, darker grey back. It has a narrower yellow bill, which is brighter in breeding adults.
Despite their large frame, these greyish-white birds are elegant and graceful, often found statuesque beside ponds.
Originating in Africa, the western Mediterranean and sub-tropical Asia, the cattle egret has expanded naturally over the last hundred years to South America in the late 1800’s and North America as recently as the early 1950’s. Australia recorded its first migrants in 1940 whilst New Zealand’s population of egrets was established as late as 1960.