075 Purple Heron
(Ardea purpurea )


70-90cm. The Purple Heron is slimmer and darker than the Grey Heron, with snake-like head and neck. Its head-sides and neck-sides are reddish-brown, neck with distinct, thin black border. Back is dark grey, wing-coverts uniform dark grey with purple-brown cast (most marked on male). The Purple Heron has rusty shoulder patch.


In Hungary the Purple Heron is fairly common local breeder on lakes, marshes and oxbows with reedbeds and reed-mace stands in Transdanubia and the Great Plain. The bulk of the population breeds in the Great Plain. The Hungarian population is stabilising. Migrant. Arrives late in spring (early April) from its wintering grounds and leaves in September, but sporadically occurs in October and occasionally in November as well.

075 Purple Heron pic

© Graphics by Szabolcs Kókay

Source: 1) Lovászi Péter (editor): Javasolt különleges madárvédelmi területek Magyarországon, Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2002; 2) BirdLife International:IUCN Red List for birds. Species factsheet; 3) Králl Attila, Nagy Károly: Fontos Madárélőhelyek Magyarországon (Területek, kritériumok és minősítő fajok) MME Monitoring Központ, 2007; 4) Szabolcs Kókay bird illustrations; 5) www.hungarianbirdwatching.com bird descriptions and checklists, 2004-2012; 6) Lars Svensson et al.: Collins Bird Guide: The Most Complete Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe 2nd Edition, Harper Collins, 2010; 7) MME Nomenclator Bizottság: Nomenclator avium Hungariae. An annotated list of the birds of Hungary. Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2008