Whilst birding at Sabkhat Al Fasl recently I have been seeing a number of Purple Herons. This species is not common in winter at the site but has been common this winter. In the Eastern Province the Purple Heron is a locally common passage migrant and winter visitor seen from August through April with the majority in the coastal zone and close to the littoral.
Occurrences away from the coast occur only regularly during August to October suggesting a southerly passage over the desert. It is scarce away from the coastal zone after November and there is no evidence of overland passage in spring. Birds of the Riyadh Region (Stagg 1994) mentions the species is a passage migrant and winter visitor but has been recorded in all months of the year.
Some birds transit through the region, others remain forming a winter population that peaks in late November/early December and remains relatively static thereafter until the spring movement commences in March. Elsewhere in Saudi Arabia it is a common migrant and winter visitor to all coasts and coastal wetlands and occurs inland in areas such as Riyadh and Tabuk.