The purple heron (Ardea purpurea) belongs to the heron family Ardeidae. The purple heron is a wading bird and is distributed in Africa, Europe, and Asia. There are four recognized subspecies of heron. The subspecies A. p. purpurea occurs in Africa, Kazakhstan and Iran. The subspecies A. p. madagascariensis occurs in Madagascar. The subspecies A. p. manilensis occurs in southeast Asia, Indian Subcontinent, China, Taiwan, Russia and Philippines. The subspecies A. p. bournei occurs in Cape Verde Island. The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these heron species and has listed them as of "Least Concern".
The purple heron is a large, slender bird, measuring 80 to 90 cm in length and weighing 600 to 1,200 grams. The females is slightly smaller, weighing 500 to 1,100 grams. These heron species have a wingspan of 120 to 150 cm. They have dark reddish-brown plumage, and darker grey back. The bill is narrow and yellow. The crown is black and two lanceolate plumes are present. These birds inhabits shallow freshwater swamps and marsh. They feed on fish, frogs, reptiles, insects and crustaceans. They breed during April and June.
|Indian birds - Purple heron - Ardea purpurea|
Image source: commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2010-kabini-purple-heron.jpg
Author: Yathin S Krishnappa | License: CC BY-SA 3.0
Current topic in Birds of India: Purple heron - Ardea purpurea.