Sunday Shot: Purple Heron In-flight, Birding In Goa


Purple Heron is larger in size compared to the most common Pond Herons. They have been sighted solitary, not so easily seen as they prefer to hunt for their prey in secluded areas.

Purple Heron in-flight
Purple Heron in-flight

Purple Heron Bird

To find them you need to see intently near the water bodies like lakes, backwaters, and wet fields. The feathers are purple in color when seen from the top with grey stripes on the neck and a lovely yellow underneath a powerful long beak. Their eyes are yellow, while it has a characteristically striped long slender neck which it recoils during flight. Long legs and grey-purple feathers help identify the bird. If it is disturbed or if it senses a threat this large bird immediately croaks and takes off to a safer distance.

The adults are comparable in size to the Grey Herons and larger Egrets. They fly close to the ground or water-short distances looking for food and spend considerable time walking amidst tall grass spotting frogs and other food. They fly to the top branches of the trees to keep them safe from predators.

Latin Name

The Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea) is a wide-ranging species of wading bird in the heron family. The scientific name comes from Latin Ardea (heron) and purpureus (colored purple). An evasive bird is often seen in densely vegetated habitats near water, particularly reed beds. It hunts for a range of prey including fish, rodents, frogs, and insects. Stalking them or standing waiting in ambush.

It has a long, slender neck and legs, and a long, pointed bill

It is a large bird about 78–97 cm in length with a standing height from 70 to 94 cm and a 120–152 cm wingspan. However, it is slender for its size, weighing only 0.5 to 1.35 kg.

It is found in a variety of wetland habitats, including marshes, swamps, and lakes. It is a solitary bird and is most active during the day.

This image of the bird in-flight was captured using the Nikon D7000 camera, 300 mm lens, at the Mandovi river backwaters near Panjim, Goa.

Recommend you take a look at other birding photography on my travel blog.



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