10 Amazing Purple Birds You Never Knew About

Purple-colored animals aren’t a very common sight. However, if you are lucky to find one, they are a spectacular sight. The color purple is associated with royalty, elegance, and luxury. Even purple flowers like lavender or lilacs symbolize grace, dignity, charm, and refinement.

10 Amazing Purple Birds You Never Knew About

Purple birds aren’t any different. However, as they are a rare sight, you will have to keep your eyes peeled to be able to spot one. These majestic birds look beautiful with their vibrant purple feathers. 

As a result, we have put together this guide to let you discover 10 amazing purple birds that we know that you never knew about. 

About Purple Birds

As we have briefly mentioned, purple birds are rare, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. However, there are in fact 50 different species of birds that are completely purple. While some birds feature a splash of purple in their plumage. 

A couple of the most common birds that feature purple feathers in their plumage includes the following:

  • American purple gallinule,
  • Purple martin,
  • Violet-backed starling,
  • Purple grenadier,
  • Purple honeycreeper,
  • Purple finch,
  • Violet cuckoo,
  • Common grackle.

10 Amazing And Purple Birds

Purple Martin (Progne Subis)

The purple martin is a small bird that has a wingspan of around 20 cm. It can be found in Europe, Asia, and North America. 

Appearance

It is the males that give these birds their name. This is due to the males that are seen to have a dark purple iridescent plumage. Both the male and female Purple Martins are quite a big swallow bird.

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They have a broad and large chest, alongside a slightly hooked and short bill. Their tail is quite short and forked. Whilst their wings are actually quite long but tapered.

The male and female Purple Martins look very different from one another. As previously mentioned, the males have a dark and glossy purple to blue plumage. This is seen along with black wings and tail.

Yet the females have more brown and grayer feathers. Their stomach is white on the lower portion of their stomach.

These birds, once fully grown, can reach around 7.5 to 8 inches in height. While they can have a wingspan of around 16 inches. They typically weigh around 45 to 60 grams or 2 ounces. 

Behavior

You will most likely see the Purple Martin in Eastern parts of North America during spring and summer. This is the time you will see them breeding. However, once the breeding season is over, they fly back down to the Southern Hemisphere, to enjoy the warmer weather.

These birds rely on tree cavities and holes made by other animals to make a nest. What you will notice about these birds is that hundreds of these birds will nest together.

This is because they are colonial nesting birds. They are known to nest in gardens and in nests that have been provided to them by humans. 

This bird is an excellent flier and is often seen flying over water. As such, it is a great bird for watching from a boat. In addition, it is also a good bird for attracting other birds. They do like mixing with other birds in their swallow family. 

Purple Martins can produce beautiful tunes and rhythms. They enjoy eating insects, and in particular flying insects. When hunting, Purple Martins are known to fly extremely high into the air, so they are out of view of their prey.

The Purple Gallinule (Porphyyrio Martinicus)

The Purple Gallinule can also be referred to as the Yellow-legged Gallinule. These birds are a part of the Rallidae Rail family. They are a common sight in South America, on the banks of rivers, lakes, or streams.

Appearance

Purple Gallinules look like a tall crane-like marsh bird. This is a very colorful bird to look at. As they have a vibrant purple plumage, with a red beak and bright yellow legs and feet. They also have a dark colored backside, but you can see glossy turquoise and green hues all over. 

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As these birds spend so much time near water, their long legs are extremely useful. They give them a long balance when walking in the water. Overall, the Purple Gallinule is around 18 inches in height with a wingspan of 21 inches. 

Behavior

These birds love water, as we have established. They can often be seen around the edges of any body of water. However, they will get in the water if they need to and are fantastic swimmers. 

Purple Gallinules live a very solitary life and spend a lot of time alone. However, if you hear a Purple Gallinule, you will notice that they sound very similar to an ordinary gallinule.

When it comes to their diet, Purple Gallinules will eat a varied diet of fruit, seeds, leaves, and any aquatic vegetation. They are also known to eat fish, small reptiles, worms, insects, and amphibians.

Purplish-Backed Jay (Cyanocorax Beecheli)

The Purple-backed Jay is one of the most commonly seen birds in South Africa. This bird is a member of the Corvidae family.

Appearance

A Purple Jay has purple feathers on its wings, tails, and back. However, the remaining areas of the bird are covered with black feathers. This includes the head, neck, underside of the wings, and stomach.

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These birds can grow to around 14 to 16 inches in height.

Behavior

Purple Jays are very territorial birds. These birds can be found all over the country, but they are rare to be seen in dry forests of Bolivia, Peru, or North Western areas of Mexico.

These birds have a set routine, so you can always suspect that around May these birds should be breeding. Purple Jays live in small communities and are very noisy. They are known to love jeering and will charge in groups. 

Purple Jays have a simple diet of insects, grain, and sometimes orchards. 

Purple Starling (Lamprotornis Purpureus)

This bird belongs to the starling family. The Purple Starling is a medium-sized bird. It lives in Europe, Asia, and Australia. They are very common to be found in woodlands all over Africa. 

Appearance

There is no denying that these birds are very striking to look at. They are very recognizable due to their metallic purple head, tails, and body. Alongside this, they have shiny green wings, yellow eyes, and black bills and legs.

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Their underside is white and spotted with darker colors. It is difficult to tell male and female Purple Starlings apart. A striking-looking bird with a short tail and a large bill. They have an average length of about 12 inches, with a wingspan of 20 inches.

Behavior

The Purple Starling is a tropical bird that likes to breed in Africa. If you really want to see one of these birds then we would suggest going to the following areas: Gambia, Senegal, Cameroon, West Kenya, Uganda, and Zaire.

In particular, you should be in woodlands where there are plenty of fruits such as figs for them to feast from. 

Typically, these birds will breed between February to May. These are social birds. They live in flocks and will interact with each other.

They make their nests in tree cavities and holes. Whilst there, it is made up of insects and fruit. You can sometimes see them on the ground foraging, while also in bushes and trees looking for something to eat.

The Varied Bunting (Passerina Versicolor)

The Varied Bunting is a very small bird that is part of the Cardinal family. They are usually found in desert environments. This is a very difficult bird to find as there are so few of them around. However, only the male adult bird will show hints of purple over its plumage.

Appearance

The Varied Bunting bird is a very small but colorful bird. The females of this species have a much more brown appearance. Whilst the males are made up of lavender and violet feathers on their plumage.

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Alongside red and plum feathers all over their body. If you saw one of these birds, you would be able to recognize it instantly.

Their beaks are quite curved at the end compared to other bunting birds in this family. Overall, the Varied Bunting is around 6 inches in height, with a wingspan around 8 to 12 inches. 

Behavior

You can find Varied Buntings in Mexico, Texas, and Arizona. They like to live in desert forests that have thickets or shrubs. These birds prefer to live away from any humans. As a result, you will never see one come to feed in your garden. 

When it comes to nesting and breeding, these birds like to make their nest near water sources like a stream or canyon in a  thorn forest. They enjoy hunting and foraging in dense plants.

However, this bird likes to protect its territory. How they do this is by twitching their wings and tail to flush their predators. Alongside this, they are a form of songbird. So you will be able to hear the male birds singing after the breeding season in spring to summer. 

Their diets consist mainly of insects, with cactus fruits and seeds.

Violet Backed Starling (Cinnyricinclus Leucogaster)

The Violet-backed Starling is a very striking bird, due to its bold purple feathers. Alongside this, it is a member of the Sturnidae family. Sometimes it is called the Amethyst or Plum Starling.

Appearance

Like some of the other birds on this list, the male, and females look very different from one another. Again, it is the males that help give this bird its purple name.

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A male Violet-Backed Starling has a deep violet to purple head and back, with a white stomach and underside. Compared to the females and children, who have a much more brown complexion. They have a brown back and head and brown-streaked on their stomachs.

However, both males and females have yellow eyes and a darkly colored bill. The adult Violet-Backed Starling can grow up to 7 inches in height. 

Behavior

The Violet-Backed Starling is native to Africa. They can often be seen in wooded areas and on the outskirts of forests. However, these birds will never come down to ground level to hunt. Instead, they are known to jump from treetop to treetop.

These birds are known to migrate and never really stay in one place for too long. The Violet-Backed Starling likes to live in small flocks and will migrate together once everyone is ready.

Yet, what makes these birds special is that they are monogamous. Therefore, they will always breed with the same bird until their mate dies.

When it comes to what they eat, they have a very simple diet. They enjoy eating winged insects, fruit, and berries.

Purple Grenadier (Uraeginthus Ianthinogaster)

The Purple Grenadier is another type of exotic bird that comes from the eastern part of Africa. The Purple Grenadier is part of the Finch bird family. They survive well in the wild and in captivity.

Appearance

Once again, it is the male that has the more purple coloring. A male Purple Grenadier has a cinnamon-colored head and neck. The lower back is purple.

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Yet the stomach and undersides of the wings are a violet color. Whilst the female has much more cinnamon coloring all over her body.

However, they do have hints of purple on their tail feathers. Females have a white ring around their eyes, but males have a purple ring instead.

These are quite small birds that will grow to around 5.5 inches.

Behavior

The Violet-Backed Starling is believed to be a native of India. However, you can also encounter these birds in certain areas of Africa like Kenya, South Sudan, Uganda, and Ethiopia. They enjoy open forests and dry grasslands.

They are not migratory, however, when they do leave their home area they travel in groups. These birds are mostly found in pairs, but sometimes they will form larger flocks.

Purple Grenadiers are mainly insectivores. They prefer to feed on caterpillars and beetles. They will also eat spiders, grasshoppers, crickets, moths, flies, ants, and termites.

Purple Grenadier’s food source is very diverse. This means that they can eat a wide variety of foods. They love to eat nectar from flowers and fruits. They will also drink water if there is no other choice.

The Purple Honeycreeper (Cyanerpes Caeruleus)

This is another exotic bird that is part of the Thraupidae family, which is mainly found in Southern America. 

Appearance

The male Purple Honeycreeper has a bright purple head, stomach, and throat. The rest of his body is a dark black color. He also has a black face mask that covers his eyes and includes his beak.

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Whilst the females have green feathers on the upper part of their body. With a yellow and green streaked buff. 

Their beak is specially designed so that it is slightly curved. This makes sucking nectar out of flowers much easier. 

Behavior

Like most birds, the Purple Honeycreeper likes to spend time in very small groups. These birds may be small, but they don’t have any fear. If they hear the call of a predator, they will come out and start hunting the predator.

They also have a very highly pitched and noisy call, so you will always be able to hear this bird. 

When it comes to their diet, they enjoy eating nectar from flowers and sometimes fruit, insects, and berries. 

Violet Sabrewing (Campylopterus Hemileucurus)

The Violet Sabrewing looks like quite a large hummingbird. This bird roots back in Southern Mexico and Central America. However, it has spread south to Costa Rica and western Panama.

Appearance

This is quite a large bird that has an arched and thick bill. Its curved bill makes it easier for this bird to eat nectar. The male Violet Sabrewing has a vibrant violet chest, along with dark green wings and eyes. Their tail feathers are white and quite thick but flat. 

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While the female Violet Sabrewing has a green head, back, and wings. While their stomach and underside of their wings are gray in color. However, their throat is violet in color. 

Overall, adult Violet Sabrewing can grow to around 15 cm. However, males are slightly bigger and heavier than females.

Behavior

The Violet Sabrewing enjoys living in high-altitude areas above 2000 meters. You may be able to spot it on the outskirts of a mountain forest or in a ravine. It is common to see them in small areas of water.

However, this is a territorial bird that likes to nest in large nests that are attached to low branches of trees. Normally, these nests hang over streams. 

We know that these birds can produce a sharp call, which causes males to flock together and sing in a high-pitched chirp. However, the females are much more aggressive than the males. 

The food that they enjoy eating is nectar from flowers, like any other hummingbird.

The Purple Heron (Ardea Purpurea)

The Purple Heron is a very big wading bird that is unsurprisingly part of the Heron family. It features similar qualities to the common Heron.

Appearance

This is a slender-looking bird that features long webbed feet. This is because these birds enjoy wading through water. Their long and straight bill is very powerful at spearing and attacking its prey. 

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Both male and female adult Purple Herons have very glossy purple and gray feathers on their bodies. Their wings are a deep gray color, while their chests are red to brown with a black stomach.

The beak of this bird is quite interesting as it is yellow, but it will get brighter and more vibrant throughout the breeding season. 

The Purple Heron will grow to around 28 to 37 inches in height, with a wingspan of around 47 to 60 inches. Once again, the male bird is much larger than the female, and their coloring is slightly darker as well. 

Behavior

You can find the Purple Heron in marshes that have tall reeds or near bodies of water. Commonly, these birds liked to breed in Central and Southern Europe and Africa. Normally they will breed once a year during April and June. They prefer to nest in colonies of up to 50 individuals.

The Purple heron is not one of the most graceful birds. Instead, this bird prefers to walk rather than fly. However, when it does need to move quickly, it will use its legs to run.

They are known to have a loud call that sounds like “kra-KRAH”. This sound is often heard during the mating season. Yet are known to mate for life. However, you may find that the pair will separate after two years of being together. 

The Purple Heron will raise its young alone. However, you may sometimes find that there are several chicks within the same colony. The Purple Heron will lay between 2 and 4 eggs per clutch. Each egg hatches about 3 days later.

Purple Herons will feed on insects and small fish, but they also love to eat frogs and tadpoles. In fact, they will even take eggs and hatchlings from other species of birds. 

The Purple Heron’s main food source is frogs, however, they will also eat lizards, snakes, crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, moths, and caterpillars. 

Why Are Purple Birds So Rare?

The Purple Bird is an amazing bird that has been around for over 100 million years, but why do we see so few of them today? Well, there are many reasons that could explain this. One reason is that they live in such remote places that humans rarely visit.

Another reason is that they don’t like to stick around in one place. If they do stay in one area too long, then they might become pests, also predators will know that they are then and cause issues for them.

However, as we have seen with our list above, some purple birds will defend their territory if they have to. Yet, most of these birds like to migrate to warmer areas either before or after their breeding season. 

Thus, if the birds migrate they will travel vast distances every year, and they may not always all decide to live in the same area. Also, you can’t always be certain that they will return to the same place the next year.

Alongside this, due to their coloring, they can blend really easily into their background, which can make them even more difficult to see. As well as a lot of them like to hide in trees and bushes.

How To Attract Purple Birds

There are many ways you can attract purple birds. Some of these include using bird feeders, bird baths, bird houses, bird toys, and bird seed.

All of these items should be placed in locations where they can get easy access to food. You can also try putting out bird baths at your home. However, these items will also attract various other birds as well, not just purple ones.  

However, you must remember that some purple birds are very territorial, and they won’t tolerate any intruders. As a result, the purple birds could attack other birds that visit your garden, or they may stay far away.

Another thing you can do is to create a habitat for purple birds. For example, you can plant native plants, trees, shrubs, flowers, and herbs. These types of plants will help provide shade and shelter for the birds.

As some birds will nest in homes that humans have created during the breeding season. 

However, you also need to make sure that the location you are offering them is safe for them as well. You will want to make sure that the surrounding areas aren’t polluted by pesticides or toxic chemicals.

Finally, you should make sure you give the Purple Birds plenty of space to build nests and raise their families.

Final Thoughts

Purple birds are really beautiful to look at, however, they are quite rare to see as well. They are also very hard to spot due to how they blend into their surroundings.

As we can see, males tend to have more of a purple coloring than the females of these species, which makes your chances of seeing these birds even harder. 

However, this means that it is important to keep an eye out for them when you go outside. If you see them, then you should definitely stop to watch them. It’s fascinating to learn about these birds and their habits. 

We have given you 10 amazing purple birds that you probably never knew about before. All of these birds are really different and can be found all over the country. Yet, what ties them all together is their beautiful and striking coloring that makes them so unique. 

Now you can keep an eye out for these birds and see if you can find them.

Harlan Derricks
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