Purple Heron ( Ardea purpurea, family: Ardeidae)

purple heron Kruger National Park birds The Purple Heron (Latin name Ardea purpurea) is described in Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition. This bird has a unique Roberts number of 65 and you will find a full description of this bird on page 591 also a picture of the Purple Heron on page 592. The Purple Heron belongs to the family of birds classified as Ardeidae.

The map of the Kruger you see on this page shows the areas (coloured orange) where this bird has been identified. The basic information was provided by the Avian Demographic Unit based at UCT and I created the maps from that information ... the green dots show the locations of the various Kruger National Park Rest Camps

The Purple Heron is neither Endemic or near Endemic to the Kruger National Park.

In terms of distribution of the Purple Heron in the Kruger National Park you may not see it in all areas. Purple Heron : see above distribution map.

Kruger Park Purple HeronIdentification assistance for this avian species ...

One of the first indicators to take note of when trying to identify a bird is it relative size. For example how big is the bird compared to a well known familiar bird. The Purple Heron is a large bird much bigger than a Pied Crow. The height of the Purple Heron is about 90 cms and its weight is about 525 gms

The male and female Purple Heron have the same plumage and colours

  • Head is brown.
  • Eye is orange.
  • Bill is grey.
  • Throat is brown, black.
  • Back is brown.
  • Legs are black.

This bird has normally proportioned leg length.

Main diet items for this bird ...

The Purple Heron feeds on the ground mainly


Aquatic life forms

Breeding and nesting habits for this bird ...

The Purple Heron is monogamous unless its mate dies. In the event of a partner dying Ardea purpurea will seek out a new mate

The nesting habit of Purple Heron is to create the nest in branches of a tree or shrub or on the ground. The bird lays eggs which are green in colour and number between 3 to 6

Habitat and flocking behaviour for this bird ...

The preferred habitats for Purple Heron are: wetlands and riverine areas

You can expect to see Purple Heron in flocks, or pairs or as single birds.

Names of this avian species in other languages ...

Xhosa ... Ucofuza/Undofu

Zulu ... Unknown

Afrikaans ...Rooireier

German ... Purpurreiher

Portuguese ... Gara-vermelha

French ... Hron pourpr

Dutch ... Purperreiger

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For in-depth birding information please refer to these authoritative avian references ...

Robert's 7th edition number ... 65

The main reference source for this data was "Roberts - Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition" . Other references were "Newmans Birds of the Kruger Park" by Keith Newman published circa 1980 . Names in foreign languages were obtained from the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town website , www.fitzpatrick.uct.ac.za