Usually feeding at dusk or dawn, the purple heron has a very varied diet consisting of fish, salamanders, frogs, insects, crustaceans, spiders, molluscs, small birds, mammals, snakes and lizards (6) (7). It hunts by hiding in vegetation and waiting motionless until prey approaches (2).
Populations breeding in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa are migratory and travel between breeding and wintering grounds (1). However, southern African and tropical Asian populations are non-migratory (2). The purple heron migrates by day, typically in small groups, although in Turkey it is known to migrate in large groups of 350 to 400 individuals (2). Purple herons often nest alongside other heron species, such as the grey heron (2), in groups that typically do not exceed 50 pairs; however, a colony of 1,000 pairs has been recorded (7). Between two and eight eggs are laid, which are incubated for 25 to 27 days, and the fledglings reach independence at around 45 to 50 days (2).