Purple Heron

Ardea purpurea




Bitterns, Herons and Egrets (Ardeidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Pale Blue-green.

Number of Eggs:

2 - 3

Incubation Days:

17 - 20

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

Nest is built over or beside water, mostly in flooded reed beds, but they occasionally build them in bushes, mangroves or trees.

Nest Material:

Reed stems or sticks.





Purple Heron: Large wading bird. Slender neck is tawny brown and white with a few blue-gray stripes. Black crown with long black plume, black line across face under eye. Back, wings, and tail blue-grey with gray-brown and russet on flanks and underparts. Bill, legs, and feet yellow with gray-black striping. Sexes similar. Juveniles pale brown with dark gray markings on wings and back. Blue-gray flight feathers. Neck pale brown and white with a few gray streaks. White belly.

Breeding and Nesting

Purple Heron: Usually nests in small colonies. Pair bonds last one season or more. Nest is in reed beds or low shrubs close to water's surface, or in tree as high as 25 metres above the ground. Female lays 4 to 5 pale, greenish-blue eggs. Both parents care for young, which fledge within 50 days.

Foraging and Feeding

Purple Heron: Hunts in shallow water spearing fish, frogs, small mammals, reptiles, and small birds. While waiting motionless for prey, it will eat insects. Also sometimes stalks its prey, and primarily feeds at dawn and dusk.


Purple Heron: Species displays a number of vocalizations, including a "quarr" alarm call, "craak" display call, repeated "clack" or "graw-rau" calls.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
Flight feathersX
Located on the wing, and collectively called remiges (singular, remex). The long stiff feathers are subdivided into two major groups based on the location and are called primaries and secondaries.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X