home of www.bavarianbirds.de

Possible Hybrid Grey Heron x Purple Heron
Ardea cinerea x Ardea purpurea
Bavaria (Germany) 27.06.2004

© www.bavarianbirds.de

An unusual heron was discovered by Alexander Wöber on 27.06.2004 at the Neusee near Mönchstockheim, Lkr. Schweinfurt in northern Bavaria, southern Germany.

Photos could be taken only from the upper parts of the bird, but the brownish breast and belly could be seen by all watchers present (R. Jahn, H. & H. Schaller, D. Uhlich, A. Wöber). Additionally the wings with white spots at the front were well shown while the bird took off. Since then the bird couldn't be seen again.

Hybrid Ardea cinerea x Ardea purpurea
Hybrid Ardea cinerea x Ardea purpurea
Hybrid Ardea cinerea x Ardea purpurea
Possible Hybrid Grey Heron x Purple Heron Ardea cinerea x Ardea purpurea

The slender bill and the dark stripe from the neck leading under the eye to the bill speak for Purple Heron. But white parts of the head, grey parts of the neck and the white spots at the wing can hardly be explained by an color aberration of Purple Heron. These characteristics along with some structures like the strong neck fits well with Grey Heron. So the most probable explanation for this strange bird is a Grey x Purple Heron-Hybrid. There are only few publications known to us (information from www.bird-hybrids.com ) about that kind of hybrid:

  • Passarella M. , Altieri E. , Verza E.; First Observation Of The Hybrid Grey Heron x Purple Heron Ardea Cinerea x Purpurea In Italy (Po Delta, Rovigo) [Italian]; Avocetta 1999
  • Lekuona J.M. , Campos F.; Descripcion de un caso de hibridacion entre la Garza real Ardea cinerea y la Garza imperial Ardea purpurea en los Arrozales de Arguedas (Navarra); Anuario Ornitologico De Navarra 1998
  • Fenyvesi L.; Grey Heron (Ardea Cinerea) x Purple Heron (Ardea Purpurea) Hybridizations At Dinnyes (County Fejer, Hungary); Aquila A Madartani Intezet Evkonyve 1992
  • Campos F.; Confirmed case of hybridisation between the grey heron (Ardea cinerea) and purple heron (Ardea purpurea) in Valladolid, Spain [French]; Gerfaut 1990
If you know other publications concerning this topic or if you can provide additional informations don't hesitate in sending a mail: Rainer Jahn

© www.bavarianbirds.de