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Purple heron: where it lives, migration, what it eats (food), where to observe it in Italy, direction and characteristics.
Common name:Purple heron
Scientific name: Ardea purpurea
Thepurple heronsthey come to winter in some areas of Europe, including Italy. The destruction of its habitats makes it an endangered animal. It can live up to 20 years.
Purple heron: migration
Migration: it is a migratory bird present and reproducing between Europe and North Africa. Hermigrationit also takes him to winter in Italy and in the south-western area of Europe. In Italy thenestingit occurs only in some areas of the North and in Sardinia.
Above themigration mapand the presence ofPurple heronin the world. In yellow, the areas where thepurple heronnests. In green the areas where thepurple heronit is present all year round, so where it does not behave as a migrant. The map can give us a partial idea of the presence of the purple heron in Italyand in the world. I emphasize "partial" because in Italy some colonies have also been sighted in other locations in the Center-South.
Purple Heron: Ardea purpurea
It's aheronrather large: between 120 - 150 cm of wingspan. It is 78 to 90 cm long and weighs around 1.2 - 1.5 kg. Males and females are very similar, usually the male is larger. The juvenile form has a brownish body.
The adult is characterized by its red livery that accompanies the neck and chest starting from the head and from the attachment of the eyes. The eyes are bright yellow and the head is adorned with a black hood. The back of the neck is brown / reddish, while the front of the neck is white with black streaks. The pectoral feathers become longer and more showy in the mating season.
The legs are thin and slender, between yellow and orange. Thanks to these legs, the heron moves in mud and water. The fingers are longer than the otherstypes of heron, for this reason, the legs allow thepurple heronto walk even on areasslendersuch as floating leaves or aquatic vegetation.
Purple heron: where to live
It is widespread in Eurasia, Africa, Indonesia and in some areas of Northern Europe. It is also widespread in Italy, especially in the Po Valley and in Tuscany.
Like other water birds, even thepurple heronit frequents the banks of rivers and lakes. Its natural habitat is given by wetlands, water basins, freshwater pools ... especially when surrounded by reeds.
Its presence in Europe is jeopardized by the destruction of habitats: only 5,000 pairs remain in Europe. It is considered a protected species in various countries. In France, for example, it has been considered a protected species since 1981, even in Italy, by means of a European directive, it is considered a species to be protected: it is forbidden to disturb, capture or damage it. It is also forbidden to take the eggs, the nest or alter its environment. The possession, sale, purchase and transport (even if deceased) is prohibited.
Purple heron: what it eats
Hersupplyit is similar to that of otherstypes of heron. What does it eat? Fish, molluscs, crustaceans, aquatic insects, larvae, reptiles, amphibians, small rodents… but also small birds. Love to prepare anestamong reeds but, in case of need, it can also adapt to trees.
The female lays 2 to 5 eggs per nest. The eggs are light blue-green in color and hatch after 25 - 30 days of hatching. Incubation is handled by both the male and the female. Both parents take care of both the hatching and the maintenance of the offspring. The young chicks feed by regurgitating the food that the parents pour into their mouth.
Often, the weaker chicks die in the first few weeks, so do thepurple heronscarry on a few specimens for hatching. When the nest is well protected, the small chicks come out of the nest and hide in the reeds already 10 - 15 days after hatching. They will become fully autonomous after three months and will be able to reproduce after one year.
Other aquatic birds of the Mediterranean and our waters:
Others types of heron:
- White heron
- Gray heron