22697031-1

Ardea purpurea 

Scope: Europe
Language: English
Status_ne_offStatus_dd_offStatus_lc_onStatus_nt_offStatus_vu_offStatus_en_offStatus_cr_offStatus_ew_offStatus_ex_off

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Pelecaniformes Ardeidae

Scientific Name: Ardea purpurea Linnaeus, 1766
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Purple Heron
French Héron pourpré
Taxonomic Source(s): 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.
Taxonomic Notes: Ardea purpurea (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) was split into A. purpurea and A. bournei by Hazevoet (1995). This treatment is not followed by the BirdLife Taxonomic Working Group although we do recognise consistent behavioural differences and that bournei is paler overall in colouration.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern (Regional assessment) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-03-31
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ashpole, J, Burfield, I., Ieronymidou, C., Pople, R., Van den Bossche, W, Wheatley, H. & Wright, L
Justification:
European regional assessment: Least Concern (LC)
EU27 regional assessment: Least Concern (LC)

In Europe this species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence 10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (30% decline over ten years or three generations). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern in Europe.

Within the EU27 this species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence 10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (30% decline over ten years or three generations). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern in the EU27.

Geographic Range [top]

Countries occurrence:
Native:
Albania; Armenia; Austria; Azerbaijan; Belarus; Belgium; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Croatia; Cyprus; Czech Republic; France; Georgia; Germany; Gibraltar; Greece; Hungary; Italy; Liechtenstein; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Malta; Moldova; Montenegro; Netherlands; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Russian Federation (European Russia); Serbia; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain (Canary Is.); Switzerland; Turkey; Ukraine
Vagrant:
Denmark; Faroe Islands; Finland; Iceland; Ireland; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Norway; Sweden; United Kingdom
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:2470000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):1800
Range Map:22697031-1

Population [top]

Population:The European population is estimated at 31,600-46,000 pairs, which equates to 63,100-92,100 mature individuals. The population in the EU27 is estimated at 12,700-15,700 pairs, which equates to 25,300-31,500 mature individuals. For details of national estimates, see the supplementary material.

Trend Justification:  In Europe and the EU27 the population size is estimated to be decreasing by less than 25% in 31.5 years (three generations). For details of national estimates, see attached PDF.
For further information about this species, see 22697031_ardea_purpurea.pdf.
A PDF viewer such as Adobe Reader is required.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:63100-92100,75900Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Populations breeding in the western Palearctic are migratory (Martínez-Vilalta et al. 2014) and travel on a broad front between breeding and wintering grounds (Kushlan and Hancock 2005). The species breeds from April to June in the western Palearctic. It is a colonial breeder (Hancock and Kushlan 1984, Martínez-Vilalta et al. 2014, Turner 2000, Kushlan and Hancock 2005) and although nesting group sizes are usually small and rarely exceed 50 pairs (Turner 2000), colonies of up to 1,000 pairs have been recorded in some areas (Hancock and Kushlan 1984, Martínez-Vilalta et al. 2014). It often also nests on the periphery of colonies of other heron species such as Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) (Kushlan and Hancock 2005). In migratory populations the autumn migration occurs from August to October (Hancock and Kushlan 1984), with the return passage in the spring beginning in March (Hancock and Kushlan 1984). The species is mainly crepuscular, but may also feed diurnally. The species inhabits wetlands from sea level to 1,800 m (Martínez-Vilalta et al. 2014), showing a preference for dense, flooded, freshwater reedbeds (Phragmites spp.) in temperate areas (occupying Typha, Scirpus and Papyrus swamps elsewhere) (Kushlan and Hancock 2005). It also utilises lake shores, river margins (Martínez-Vilalta et al. 2014), ditches, canals, brackish water lagoons (Kushlan and Hancock 2005), rice-fields and coastal mudflats (Martínez-Vilalta et al. 2014). Its diet consists of fish 5–15 cm long (Martínez-Vilalta et al. 2014) (occasionally up to 55 cm), salamanders (Kushlan and Hancock 2005), frogs, insects (Martínez-Vilalta et al. 2014) (e.g. beetles, dragonflies, hemiptera (Kushlan and Hancock 2005) and locusts (Hancock and Kushlan 1984)), crustaceans (Martínez-Vilalta et al. 2014), spiders (Kushlan and Hancock 2005) and molluscs (Hancock and Kushlan 1984) as well as small birds and mammals, snakes and lizards (Martínez-Vilalta et al. 2014). The nest is a platform of reeds stems or sticks (Kushlan and Hancock 2005) positioned over or beside water up to three metres high in flooded reedbeds (Martínez-Vilalta et al. 2014), three to four metres high in thickets (Kushlan and Hancock 2005) or up to 25 m high in trees (Martínez-Vilalta et al. 2014). The species usually nests in loose single- or mixed-species colonies with A. cinerea, and although colony sizes are usually small, large groups of up to 1,000 pairs have been recorded (Hancock and Kushlan 1984, Martínez-Vilalta et al. 2014).
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater; Marine
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):10.5
Movement patterns:Full Migrant
Congregatory:Congregatory (and dispersive)

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The main threat to this species in Europe is the loss of reedbeds though direct elimination (to reduce sedimentation) (Kushlan and Hancock 2005), agricultural encroachment (Hockey et al. 2005), water management practices (Kushlan and Hancock 2005) (e.g. drainage) (Hockey et al. 2005) and reed cane harvesting (Kushlan and Hancock 2005).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
The species is listed on Annex I of the EU Birds Directive, Annex II of the Bern Convention and Annex II of the Convention on Migratory Species, under which it is covered by the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Studies in southern France have shown that the overall conservation of this species in Europe is favoured by maintaining large uncut reedbeds with relatively high spring water levels (Barbraud et al. 2002). Freshwater habitats need to be sustainably managed and non-intrusion zones established around colonies.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2015. Ardea purpurea. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T22697031A60153588. . Downloaded on 18 September 2018.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided