Uncommon to locally fairly common summer migrant from winter grounds in Africa. Favors fresh marshes with tall reeds and other vegetation. Often more retiring than Gray Heron and rarely seen in open situations. Only likely to be confused with larger and bulkier Gray Heron, which is paler and grayer overall, with a stouter bill. Note rusty head and streaky neck of Purple Heron; juvenile Purple is extensively rusty brown on upperparts.