Ardea purpurea (Linnaeus, 1766)
Family: Pelecaniformes > Ardeidae
With its warm buff head and neck, black cap, grey back and deep chestnut shoulder patch, the adult Purple Heron is a smart bird, but one that favours the dense vegetation, such as reedbeds, of shallow waterbodies.
Purple Heron is considered an occasional breeder, and one for which proving breeding can be difficult. Its European breeding population has been expanding since at least the 1940s, with colonisation of France and the Netherlands signposting this species as a potential colonist to Britain & Ireland.
Purple Heron identification is often straightforward.
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Status and Trends
Population size and trends and patterns of distribution based on BTO surveys and atlases with data collected by BTO volunteers.
This species can be found on the following statutory and conservation listings and schedules.
Purple Herons are regularly recorded in Britain in the spring, typically arriving during periods of warm southerly winds between April and May and occasionally staying into the summer. During 2008–11
Occupied 10-km squares in UK
|No. occupied in breeding season||1|
|% occupied in breeding season||0.03|
|No. occupied in winter||2|
|% occupied in winter||0.07|
European Distribution Map
Purple Herons are very scarce and usually only encountered in spring and summer.
Information about movement and migration based on online bird portals (e.g. BirdTrack), Ringing schemes and tracking studies.
Lifecycle and body size information about Purple Heron, including statistics on nesting, eggs and lifespan based on BTO ringing and nest recording data.
View number ringed each year in the Online Ringing Report
|Typical Lifespan||4 years with breeding typically at 1 year|
Sample sizes are too small to report Biometrics for this species.
Feather measurements and photos on featherbase
|Field Codes||2-letter: UR | 5-letter code: PURHE | Euring: 1240|
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