Fun Purple Heron Facts For Kids

Christian Mba
Oct 20, 2022 By Christian Mba
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat
Read purple heron facts about the birds of North America of the darker and smaller Old World form.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.2 Min

The purple heron (Ardea purpurea) is an African Eurasian migratory waterbirds. Ardea Purpurea is a species of wading birds in the heron family. They are one of the least famous birds in North America. These birds are found in Southern and Eastern Europe, Asia, southern Spain, Sub Saharan Africa, the Great Rift Valley, Kazakhstan, Senegal, Madagascar, Indian Subcontinent, China, Philippines, basins of the Amur River and the Ussuri River, Cape Verde Islands, Britain, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia. The purple heron feeds in shallow water. They are named after the Latin words Ardea, meaning heron, and purpureus, meaning colored purple. This bird breeds annually and lays bluish-green eggs. Males and females incubate the eggs together.

Some of the other popular bird species from the same family are green heron, night heron, gray heron and great blue heron. Here are some interesting facts about the purple heron. Afterward, do have a look at our other articles on little blue heron and green heron.

Purple Heron Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a purple heron?

A purple heron (Ardea purpurea) is a carnivorous bird found in wetlands. It has a very similar appearance to the Gray Heron. But it is smaller in size and has a more slender body.

What class of animal does a purple heron belong to?

A purple heron (Ardea purpurea) belongs to the birds class of animals. It is from the genus Ardea.

How many purple herons are there in the world?

The number of purple herons in the world has constantly been decreasing due to habitat loss. There are currently around 270,000 to 570,000 purple herons in the world. Their habitat range spans across Southern and Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, United States.

Where does a purple heron live?

A purple heron (Ardea purpurea) lives in the wetland habitats such as lagoons, lakes, and marshes. It is found in both saltwater and freshwater habitats —the latter is more than the former.

What is a purple heron's habitat?

A purple heron habitat consists of wetlands. This species prefers freshwater bodies over saltwater bodies. Freshwater habitats with reed beds are their favorite type of habitat. They are most commonly found in lakes, marshes, and lagoons. They are found in habitats with dense vegetation surrounding them. These birds are also spotted in mangrove marshes, mudflats, canals, ditches, and river banks. Some of the birds of this species are found on arid slopes in the Cape Verde Islands. Purple herons are found at elevations up to 5905 ft (1800 m) from sea level.

Who do purple herons live with?

Purple herons are usually found in large colonies, especially during the breeding season. They live with birds of their own species.

How long does a purple heron live?

A purple heron is a short-lived bird. It has an average life expectancy of five years. The maximum lifespan of a purple heron is recorded to be 25.4 years. Their short lifespan and habitat loss are in conjunction affecting their population size. Hence, the conservation of African Eurasian purple herons is becoming a need.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season of purple herons is variable, depending on their location. In the western Palearctic region, the breeding season of this species is from April to June. In Africa, it is in the rainy season. In southern India, it is from November to March, whereas in northern India, it is from June to October. These birds reach sexual maturity at the age of two years. Females of this species usually lay two to eight eggs per season. The incubation period for purple heron eggs is 20 - 30 days, with an average of 26 days. The fledging period of the purple heron chicks is 40 - 50 days.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the purple heron is Least Concern. Their population has been decreasing due to disturbances in their habitats. Many of their habitats face drainage issues and destruction of reed beds which is the main cause for their declining population. Even so, herons are not rare in the UK and the gray heron is often commonly spotted.

Purple Heron Fun Facts

What do purple herons look like?

Purple herons have a darker reddish-brown plumage than the gray heron. This species shows no sexual disphormism. Adult purple herons have a black crown and forehead. A single black stripe runs down the back of their necks. The head and neck of this species are buffish chestnut in color. The underside of these birds is black-colored. They have a straight beak which is brownish yellow in color. On reaching sexual maturity, the beaks of these birds become brighter in color. They have brown legs. Their eyes are yellow.

Purple heron adult has a black forehead and crown, with a dark stripe.

How cute are they?

Purple herons are not very cute. They are almost mud-colored and live in wetlands. This makes them one of the least good-looking birds. They have a beautiful body structure but not enough to call them cute.

How do they communicate?

Purple herons are big on communication. These birds are known to let their nest-mates know when they are leaving the nest and when they have returned. They have special low and high-pitched respective vocals to communicate this information. Purple herons live in large heronries, and there are often conflicts between the birds in a heronry over nesting sites. These conflicts are resolved by aggressive displays. They squawk at each other until someone wins. Purple herons are not very pleased with intruders. These birds have an alarm call to make the others alert. They often stare at their intruders without moving a muscle to scare them away with their glare.

How big is a purple heron?

A purple heron is a medium-sized bird. It has a length between the range of 31.0-38.0 in (78.0-97.0 cm), and its standing height lies between 28.0-37.0 in (70.0-94.0 cm). They are comparatively larger than the yellow-crowned night heron.

How fast can a purple heron move?

A purple heron (Ardea purpurea) is a very amazing flyer. It curls its neck in an S shape during the flight. It can reach speeds of up to 30 mph (48 kph).

How much does a purple heron weigh?

A purple heron (Ardea purpurea) is a medium-sized bird. Even though it is tall, the height does not account much for its body weight. They weigh in the range of 1.1-3.0 lb (0.5-1.35 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Males of the purple heron species are called cocks, and females of the purple heron species are called hens.

What would you call a baby purple heron?

A baby purple heron is called a chick.

What do they eat?

Purple herons have a carnivorous diet. They eat a wide range of foods, from small insects to small mammals. They prey on fish, small amphibians, water snails, spiders, terrestrial beetles, water beetles, aquatic larvae, and insects such as flies, bees, grasshoppers. This species feeds in shallow water. Purple herons have a very similar diet to night herons.

Are they poisonous?

Purple herons are carnivorous species of birds. They do not have any poison sacks in their body. Hence, they cannot be poisonous. They feed on their prey using their beaks. They do not attack humans unless provoked. They can cause scratch marks on attacking, but those are not poisonous unless they catch an infection.

Would they make a good pet?

Purple herons are wild and large birds. Their habitats are wetlands that cannot be recreated in people's houses. These birds will not survive in captivity. Their diet is carnivorous, which is a little difficult to maintain. Even though you manage to acquire a purple heron, taking care of it is extremely difficult. That is why purple herons do not make good pets.

Did you know...

Purple herons act as bioindicators for pollution in aquatic systems.

The goliath heron is the biggest heron species in the world.

Herons are a common sight in the UK. They can be seen perching on the banks of a river or a lake. They do not fly very high during short distances. However, they can fly higher during long distances like migration.

Purple herons can get infected with parasites such as Euclinostomum heterostomum, Bolbophorus confusas levantinas, and Clinostomum golvani.

Where does the purple heron shelter?

The purple heron usually shelters in its nests. The nests of these birds are built-in reed beds and bulrush stands. The nests are situated near water of depths 15.7-59.0 in (40-150 cm). The nests are hidden inside the vegetation in the wetlands. In case of flood or drought conditions, these birds take shelter on the trees

The purple heron's call

The purple heron's call is very similar to that of a gray heron. Their vocals are recorded to be croak sounding. Purple herons are quite birds. They use their vocalizations only when necessary. Their voices are very high-pitched. They are known to make harsh noises during mating. Some scientists recorded frarnk vocals from this species. These birds also make krek sounds.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these guam rail facts and common kingfisher facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable purple heron coloring pages.

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Written by Christian Mba

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba picture

Christian MbaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba is an experienced blogger and content writer with over a decade of experience. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Nigeria and has a keen interest in Python programming. Along with his writing and blogging expertise, he is also an SEO specialist with more than six years of experience. Chris, as he is commonly known, has a passion for music and enjoys playing the piano.

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