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Purple Heron
Ardea purpurea

Map of the common names


Looks dark and elongated (L 80 cm). Head and neck appear narrow, long and angular. Purple Herons are confined to freshwater marshes with dense vegetation. Nests are usually built in reedbeds. Breeds mostly in small colonies. Fish, amphibians and insects are the main items taken as food. Migrant.

Watercolour by Serge Nicolle

Reasons for the need for protection/inclusion in annex I

At present, the EU breeding population is estimated about 5,000 pairs and has declined during recent years. The major causes of the decline of the Purple Heron are the loss and degradation of habitat through the drainage of wetlands and water exploitation, illegal shooting, pesticides and disturbances at breeding colonies.

Distribution map

yellow = summer visitor
green = resident
blue = winter visitor

Population : 4,500 / 6,000 pairs

Drawing by Manuel Manolos

back to list of threatened species