LC
Purple Heron Ardea purpurea



Taxonomy

Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: #http://www.aerc.eu/DOCS/Bird_taxa_of _the_WP15.xls#.
Cramp, S. and Simmons, K.E.L. (eds). 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Red List criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - -

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2019 Least Concern
2016 Least Concern
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency low
Land-mass type Average mass -
Range

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence (breeding/resident) 131,000,000 km2 medium
Extent of Occurrence (non-breeding) 109,000,000 km2 medium
Severely fragmented? no -
Population
Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
Population size 180000-380000 mature individuals poor estimated 2009
Population trend decreasing - suspected -
Generation length 10.5 years - - -

Population justification: The global population is estimated to number c.270,000-570,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2015). This roughly equates to 180,000-380,000 mature individuals. The European population is estimated at 31,600-46,000 pairs, which equates to 63,100-92,100 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015).

Trend justification: The overall population trend is decreasing, although some populations may be stable and others have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2015). The European population trend is estimated to be decreasing (BirdLife International 2015).


Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Presence Origin Resident Breeding visitor Non-breeding visitor Passage migrant
Afghanistan extant native yes
Albania extant native yes yes
Algeria extant native
Angola extant native
Armenia extant native yes
Austria extant native yes
Azerbaijan extant native yes yes
Bahrain extant native yes yes
Bangladesh extant native
Barbados extant vagrant
Belarus extant native yes
Belgium extant native yes yes
Benin extant native
Bosnia and Herzegovina extant native yes
Botswana extant native
Brunei extant native
Bulgaria extant native yes yes
Burkina Faso extant native
Burundi extant native
Cambodia extant native
Cameroon extant native
Cape Verde extant native
Central African Republic extant native
Chad extant native
China (mainland) extant native
Congo extant native
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the extant native
Côte d'Ivoire extant native
Croatia extant native yes yes
Cyprus extant native yes
Czechia extant native yes
Denmark extant vagrant
Djibouti extant native
Egypt extant native
Eritrea extant native
Eswatini extant native
Ethiopia extant native
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) extant vagrant
Finland extant vagrant
France extant native yes yes
Gabon extant native
Gambia extant native
Georgia extant native yes
Germany extant native yes yes
Ghana extant native
Gibraltar (to UK) extant native
Greece extant native yes yes
Guinea extant native
Guinea-Bissau extant native
Hong Kong (China) extant native yes
Hungary extant native yes yes
Iceland extant vagrant
India extant native
Indonesia extant native
Iran, Islamic Republic of extant native yes yes
Iraq extant native yes yes
Ireland extant vagrant
Israel extant native yes
Italy extant native yes yes
Japan extant native
Jordan extant native yes yes
Kazakhstan extant native yes
Kenya extant native
Kuwait extant native yes yes
Kyrgyzstan extant native yes
Laos extant native
Lebanon extant native yes
Lesotho extant native
Liberia extant native
Libya extant native
Liechtenstein extant native yes
Lithuania extant vagrant
Luxembourg extant vagrant
Madagascar extant native
Malawi extant native
Malaysia extant native
Maldives extant native
Mali extant native
Malta extant native
Mauritania extant native
Moldova extant native yes yes
Montenegro extant native yes yes
Morocco extant native
Mozambique extant native
Myanmar extant native
Namibia extant native
Nepal extant native
Netherlands extant native yes
Niger extant native
Nigeria extant native
North Korea extant native
North Macedonia extant native yes
Norway extant vagrant
Oman extant native yes yes
Pakistan extant native
Palestine extant native yes
Philippines extant native
Poland extant native yes
Portugal extant native yes yes
Qatar extant native yes
Romania extant native yes yes
Russia extant native yes yes
Russia (Asian) extant native yes
Russia (Central Asian) extant vagrant
Russia (European) extant native yes yes
Rwanda extant native
São Tomé e Príncipe extant vagrant
Saudi Arabia extant native yes yes
Senegal extant native
Serbia extant native yes yes
Seychelles extant vagrant
Sierra Leone extant native
Singapore extant native
Slovakia extant native yes
Slovenia extant native
Somalia extant native
South Africa extant native
South Korea extant native
South Sudan extant native yes yes
Spain extant native yes yes
Sri Lanka extant native
Sudan extant native
Sweden extant vagrant
Switzerland extant native yes
Syria extant native yes yes
Taiwan, China extant native
Tajikistan extant native yes
Tanzania extant native
Thailand extant native
Timor-Leste extant native yes
Togo extant native
Trinidad and Tobago extant vagrant
Tunisia extant native
Türkiye extant native yes
Turkmenistan extant native yes
Uganda extant native
Ukraine extant native yes yes
United Arab Emirates extant native yes yes
United Kingdom extant vagrant
Uzbekistan extant native yes
Vietnam extant native yes
Western Sahara extant native
Yemen extant native yes yes
Zambia extant native
Zimbabwe extant native

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Azerbaijan Lake Mahmudchala
Portugal Santo André and Sancha lagoons
Portugal Murta dam
Portugal Sado estuary
Portugal Tejo estuary
Portugal Paul do Boquilobo
Portugal Paul de Madriz
Portugal Paul de Arzila
Portugal Ria de Aveiro
Portugal Paul do Taipal
Türkiye Meriç Delta
Türkiye Akşehir and Eber Lakes
Türkiye Göksu Delta
Russia (European) Delta of the River Don
Ukraine Syvash Bay
Ukraine Bilosarajs'ka peninsula
Ukraine Udaj river valley
Ukraine Dnister delta
Ukraine Dnipro delta
France Garonne : marais de Bordeaux
France Estuaire de la Gironde : marais du Blayais
France Lac du Der-Chantecoq et étangs latéraux
France Brenne centrale
France Brenne Sud
France Queue de Brenne : Etang des Loges, Grand et Petit Mez
France Etangs de Sologne: St Viatre, Marcilly-en-Gault et forêt de Bruadan
France Basse Vallée du Doubs : Dole Sud
France Etangs de la Woëvre: la Chaussée
France Etang de Lindre
France Etang des Landes
France Etang de Capestang
France Etangs Montpellierains
France Etang du Bagnas
France Etangs de Vendres, Pissevache et Lespignan
France Etangs de Canet et de Villeneuve-de-la-Raho et embouchure du Tech
France Petite Camargue fluvio-lacustre
France Petite Camargue laguno-marine
France Vallée de la Garonne : méandre de Grisolles
France Camargue
France Crau
France Marais entre Crau et Grand Rhône: Meyranne, Chanoine, Plan de Bourg et Salins du Caban
France Estuaire de la Charente
France Anse de Fouras, baie d'Yves et marais de Rochefort
France Ile d'Oléron, marais de Brouage-Saint-Agnant
France Lac de Grand-Lieu
France Marais poitevin et baie de l'Aiguillon
France La Dombes
France Plaine du Forez
Italy Valli di Comacchio and Bonifica del Mezzano
Germany Main valley: Eltmann - Hassfurt
Germany Danube valley: Neu-Ulm - Lauingen incl. Faiminger Stausee, Donau-Moos, and Gundelfinger Moos
Germany Wagbach lowlands
Germany Lower Rhine
Germany Heerter See
Botswana Okavango Delta
Cape Verde Kapok tree, Boa Entrada
Cape Verde Mahoganies at Banana, Ribeira Montanha, Ilha de Santiago
Mali Lac Débo - Lac Oualado Débo
South Sudan Sudd (Bahr-el-Jebel system)
Ukraine Karachunivs'ke reservoir
Ukraine Konka river mouth
Ukraine Tsybul'kivs'ki lakes
Ukraine Molochnyj Liman
Portugal Pera marsh
Ukraine Dniprodzerzhyns'ke reservoir
Vietnam U Minh Thuong
Thailand Thung Tha Laad
Thailand Thale Noi
Philippines Manila Bay
Philippines Agusan marsh
Indonesia Dataran Banjir Ogan Komering
Indonesia Pulau Rambut
Indonesia Danau Tempe
Portugal Minho and Coura estuaries
Portugal Barrinha de Esmoriz/Lagoa de Paramos
Portugal Mondego Estuary
Portugal Lagoa Pequena
Portugal Salinas de Alverca e do Forte da Casa
Portugal Vilamoura
Iran, Islamic Republic of Lavandavil Wildlife Refuge
Congo Lake Télé Community Reserve
Bulgaria Srebarna
Bulgaria Mandra-Poda complex
Bulgaria Ropotamo Complex
Bulgaria Belene Islands Complex
Bulgaria Kalimok Complex
Bulgaria Orsoya Fish-ponds
Bulgaria Durankulak Lake
Bulgaria Tsibarsko Marsh
Italy Ostiglia Swamps
Italy Po Delta
Austria Neusiedler See
Italy Grado and Marano lagoon
Kazakhstan Kazakhstan portion of the river Volga's Delta - Zhambay
Italy Adda Sud Park heronries
Italy Lomellina and Heronries of Pavia province
Italy Vercelli rice-fields
Italy Brabbia peatland, Lake Varese and Lake Biandronno
Italy River Mincio and Bosco Fontana
Romania Balta Albă - Amara - Jirlău
Türkiye Marmara Lake
Türkiye Kızılırmak Delta
Hungary Lower Tisza Valley
Hungary Béda–Karapancsa
Hungary Bodrogzug–Taktaköz
Hungary Hortobágy and Tisza-to
Slovakia Medzibodrožie
Slovakia Senné
Italy Valle Bertuzzi and Goro lagoon
Italy Punte Alberete and Valle della Canna, Pineta San Vitale and Pialassa della Baiona
Italy Valli Bolognesi
Italy Lake Massaciuccoli
Italy Lakes Montepulciano and Chiusi
Italy Cagliari wetlands
Italy Sinis and Oristano wetlands
Italy River Po from Dora Baltea mouth to Scrivia mouth
Germany Aisch-Regnitz-Grund
Germany Altmühl valley between Treuchtlingen and Leutershausen with Altmühlsee
Germany Donau-Auen and Donau-Ried: Höchstädt - Donauwörth
Germany Danube valley: Regensburg-Vilshofen
Germany Main valley and Steiger foothills near Schweinfurt and Volkach
Germany Rhine flats Karlsruhe - Rheinsheim
Germany Wulfener Bruch and Teichgebiet Osternienburg
Germany Eich-Gimbsheimer Altrhein, southern oxbow
Germany Mechtersheim clay pit
Germany Bobenheim-Roxheimer Altrhein with Silbersee
Germany Neupotzer Altrhein
Germany Wörther Altrhein and Wörther Rheinhafen
Romania Blahniţa
Romania Braţul Borcea
Romania Comana
Romania Danube Delta
Romania Dunăre - Ostroave
Romania Dunărea Veche (Braţul Măcin)
Romania Gruia - Gârla Mare
Romania Balta Mică a Brăilei
Romania Suhaia
Romania Câmpia Crişurilor
Hungary Lake Kis-Balaton
Poland Upper Vistula River Valley
Spain Tierra de Campos steppes
Spain Cortados del Jarama
Spain Las Cañas lake
Spain Pitillas and Dos Reinos lagoons
Spain Cinco Villas ponds
Spain River Ebro ox-bow lakes
Spain Rivers Cinca and Alcanadre riverine forest
Spain Sariñena lake and La Estación pond
Spain Ampurdán marshes
Spain Cogul-Alfés steppes
Spain Ebro delta
Spain Prat de Cabanes-Torreblanca
Spain Albufera de Valencia marshes
Spain Pego-Oliva marshes
Spain El Hondo wetland
Spain Santa Pola salt-pans
Spain Alcázar de San Juan-Quero endorreic lagoons
Spain Tablas de Daimiel marshes; 'Vicario' and 'Gasset' reservoirs and Malagón lakes
Spain Castrejón reservoir
Spain Azután reservoir
Spain Bornos reservoir
Spain Guadalquivir marshes
Spain Odiel and Tinto marshes and Huelva coastal lagoons
Spain Monfragüe
Spain Albufera de Mallorca and Albufereta de Pollença marshes
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the Ngiri
Croatia Podunavlje and Lower Podravlje
Croatia Grudnjak and Nasice Carp Fishponds
Croatia Lower Posavina
Croatia Cesma River Carp Fishponds
Croatia Middle Drava River
Netherlands Boezems Kinderdijk
Netherlands De Wieden
Netherlands Naardermeer
Netherlands Nieuwkoopse Plassen & De Haeck
Netherlands Zouweboezem
Russia (European) Veselovskoye reservoir
Serbia Carska bara
Serbia Gornje Potamisje
Serbia Jegricka
Serbia Srednje Potamišje
Serbia Subotica lakes and sandy terrain
Senegal Djoudj wetlands
Montenegro Bojana Delta
Montenegro Skadar Lake
Montenegro Ulcinj saltpans

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Mangrove Vegetation Above High Tide Level suitable breeding
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Mangrove Vegetation Above High Tide Level suitable non-breeding
Marine Intertidal Mud Flats and Salt Flats suitable breeding
Marine Intertidal Mud Flats and Salt Flats suitable non-breeding
Shrubland Subtropical/Tropical Moist suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands major breeding
Wetlands (inland) Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands major non-breeding
Altitude 0 - 1800 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Utilisation
Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food - human - - non-trivial recent
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - international non-trivial recent
Sport hunting/specimen collecting - - non-trivial recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Species factsheet: Ardea purpurea. Downloaded from https://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/purple-heron-ardea-purpurea on 04/03/2024.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2024) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from https://datazone.birdlife.org on 04/03/2024.