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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 bird is easily distinguished by its rear neck which is pale reddish-brown. The Purple Heron has purple-brown plumage with slate-grey wings, reddish-brown breast, black belly and reddish-purple flanks and scapulars. Crown and long feathers’ crest are black. The rest of the neck is white with black streaks, extending on upper breast. A black line is running down the neck sides. Purple Herons have longer toes than other species, allowing walking on floating vegetation and dense bushes. Very conspicuous in flight, these long toes make easier to identify the species.
Purple heronPurple heron