Purple Heron

Ardea purpurea

Purple Heron

Purple Heron

Quick Facts


Scientific name:

Ardea purpurea


Herons, storks and ibises



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.

Technical description

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.

For more information on what herons eat, check out this article.

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Other birds in the Herons, storks and ibises family

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