The Purple Heron is a wading bird in the heron family, breeding in Africa, central and southern Europe, and southern and eastern Asia. The European populations are migratory, wintering in tropical Africa; the more northerly Asian populations also migrate further south within Asia. It is a rare but regular wanderer north of its breeding range.
The Purple Heron is a large bird in length with a standing height of 95 cm and a 155 cm wingspan. However, it is slender for its size, weighing only 1.5 kg. It is somewhat smaller than the Grey Heron, from which it can be distinguished by its darker reddish-brown plumage, and, in adults, darker grey back. It has a narrower yellow bill, which is brighter in breeding adults.