About Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea) Danube Delta
The purple heron (Ardea purpurea) is one of the most elegant birds in the heron family. A summer guest in the Danube's Delta, this heron winters in Asia and Africa.
It is a large scale bird with a length of 70 to 90 cm, a weight of 0, 5 to 1, 3 Kg, a height of 94 cm and a wingspan of up to 145 cm. Its head is small and flat, with a yellow dagger shaped bill and yellow eyes. Male specimens have a brown-purple area on their lateral sides. The purple heron has a dark reddish-brown plumage. Among its nape feathers there are a few long, copper-coloured feathers. Its plumage helps it to hide when in danger and when it hunts. During flight, its long and thin neck is curved in an 'S' shape.
This heron prefers reed areas, but it can also be found on the canal shores. It nests in small, mixed colonies, alongside other herons. It builds its nest in tall trees, near large lakes, on reed or osiers. Usually, the male is the one who builds the nest. The female lays 4 or 5 green to blue eggs. The chicks hatch after 26 days and both parents are involved in raising them.
This bird fishes in shallow water and it feeds with frogs or aquatic insects. It prowls on small mammals, which it drowns before eating.
The purple heron is a protected species, due to the fact that it is worldwide threatened with extinction.