Ardea purpurea

Ardea purpurea (*)

Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Classis: Aves
Subclassis: Carinatae
Infraclassis: Neornithes
Parvclassis: Neognathae
Ordo: Ciconiiformes
Familia: Ardeidae
Subfamilia: Ardeinae
Genus: Ardea
Species: Ardea purpurea
Subspecies: A. p. bournei - A. p. madagascariensis - A. p. manilensis - A. p. purpurea


Ardea purpurea Linnaeus, 1766


Systema Naturae ed.12 p.236

Vernacular names
Česky: Volavka červená
Ελληνικά: Πορφυροτσικνιάς
English: Purple Heron
Türkçe: Erguvani balıkçıl


The Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea) is a wading bird in the heron family Ardeidae, breeding in Africa, central and southern Europe, and southern and eastern Asia. The European populations are migratory, wintering in tropical Africa; the more northerly Asian populations also migrate further south within Asia. It is a rare but regular wanderer north of its breeding range.


The Purple Heron is a large bird, 80-90 cm tall, with a 120-150 cm wingspan, but slender for its size, weighing only 0.5-1.3 kg. It is somewhat smaller than the Grey Heron, from which it can be distinguished by its darker reddish-brown plumage, and, in adults, darker grey back. It has a narrower yellow bill, which is brighter in breeding adults.


There are three or four subspecies:

* Ardea purpurea purpurea Linnaeus, 1766. Africa, Europe north to the Netherlands, and southwestern Asia east to Kazakhstan.
* Ardea purpurea bournei (de Naurois, 1966), Bourne's Heron. Cape Verde Islands (included in purpurea by some authors, but treated as a distinct species Ardea bournei by some others).
* Ardea purpurea madagascariensis Oort, 1910. Madagascar.
* Ardea purpurea manilensis Meyen, 1834. Asia from Pakistan east to the Philippines and north to Primorsky Krai, Russia.


The Purple Heron breeds in colonies in reed beds or trees close to large lakes or other extensive wetlands. It builds a bulky stick nest.

It feeds in shallow water, spearing fish, frogs, insects, small mammals, reptiles and small birds. It will often wait motionless for prey, or slowly stalk its victim. It tends to keep within reedbeds more than the Grey Heron, and is often inconspicuous, despite its size.

It has a slow flight, with its neck retracted. This is characteristic of herons and bitterns, and distinguishes them from storks, cranes and spoonbills, which extend their necks. The long neck of Purple Heron looks particularly snake-like, with more of an S-shape in flight. The call is a loud croaking "krek".

The Purple Heron is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.

* BirdLife International (2008). Ardea purpurea. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 9 February 2009. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern.
* Handbook of the Birds of the World 1: 407. Lynx Edicions.
* Ornitaxa: Ardea bournei split as a separate species

External links

* Ageing and sexing (PDF) by Javier Blasco-Zumeta
* Avibase

List of Cyprus birds

Biology Encyclopedia

Birds Images

Source: Wikispecies, Wikipedia: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License


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