What Animals Are Purple? 9 Examples with Pictures

When you think of the color purple, you associate it with royalty. But did you know that several animals are purple? I was taken aback to learn that several animals are purple and a few birds were on the list.

I learned of this when a marine biologist friend showed me a picture of a purple starfish. Unfortunately, I mistook it for a colorful coral, but my friend corrected me.

She told me that it is a starfish and it is pretty rare. She further told me that purple animals are in the animal kingdom, albeit slightly rare. So in this article, we will discuss nine purple animals.

Animals that are purple:

  • Ochre sea star
  • Indian purple frog
  • Violet-backed starling
  • Purple honeycreeper
  • Costa’s hummingbird
  • Orchid dottyback
  • Purple firefish
  • Crowned woodnymph
  • Purple martin

List of animals that are purple:

1. Ochre sea star

purple ochre sea star 08052022

The first creature that struck me as unusually bright and purple was the ochre sea star. This creature is also one of the most beautiful-looking marine animals.

They are also the cause of the research on a ‘wasting syndrome’ affecting starfishes worldwide.

It has been observed the bright colored starfishes are suddenly losing their limbs and turning into white debris.

While doing so, they release a white gooey and slimy secretion.

This disease has resulted in the mass reduction of starfishes, especially the Ochre sea star.

The usual habitat of these starfishes is the North-eastern coast of the Pacific Ocean from Alaska to Baja in California.

2. Indian purple frog

indian purple frog
source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nasikabatrachus_sahyadrensis.jpg

The Indian purple frog is endemic to the Western Ghats of India.

When you see this creature, the first thing that will cross your mind is that it is quite an ‘ugly’ looking frog!

But this unique creature is quite timid, and you will have to make an effort to find it in the wild.

The color of the Indian purple frog is dark purple to greyish.

If you observe the amphibian closely, you will find that the snout of the frog is elongated, unlike other frogs. As a result, the frog can burrow into the ground and stay there.

In addition, the muscular forelimbs of the frog help it to burrow into the ground.

A fully mature Indian purple frog can grow up to seven centimeters in length.

3. Violet-backed starling

violet backed starling 08052022

The violet-backed starling is native to the sub-Saharan region, and these birds are commonly found in the savannah and woodlands of the region.

You can easily distinguish the bird by the violet-colored plumage that covers its back.

The feathers on the wings of the bird are bright and purple. This has given the bird the name Violet-backed starling.

The breast and the rest of the bird’s body are covered with white feathers giving it a distinctive appearance.

The violet-backed starling is a small bird growing no more than seventeen centimeters in size.

You will usually find the bird on the higher branches of trees and hardly ever on the ground.

4. Purple honeycreeper

purple honeycreeper 08052022

This beautiful bird is easily distinguished by its brightly colored feathers.

The Purple honeycreeper is native to the forests of South America, especially the Amazon Basin.

Other than the Purple honeycreeper’s brightly colored feathers, another distinguishing feature of the bird is its slightly hooked beak.

The front end of the bird’s beak is slightly hooked, making it easier to catch insects. 

The bird is omnivorous, which means it can survive on fruits, seeds, nectar, and insects.

Moreover, the purple honeycreeper tends to stay in groups with other honeycreepers.

5. Costa’s hummingbird

costas hummingbird 08052022

The Costa’s hummingbird is a particular species of hummingbird found in Arizona and California. These birds inhabit the dry regions of the Sonoran Desert.

The purple feathers can easily distinguish the bird since its heavily concentrated around its neck.

Some of the feathers stick out from the base of the neck and often appear like an overgrown mustache.

The unique drape of purple feathers around the neck of Costa’s hummingbird has earned it a place in the list of purple animals.

In the case of Costa’s hummingbird, the purple feathers are a part of courtship behavior. The male bird species show the purple feathers to the female to attract them.

The female species do not have any purple feathers. They mostly have green and white feathers.

6. Orchid dottyback

orchid dottyback 08052022

The orchid dottyback is a beautiful purple-colored fish. It is one of the reef-safe fishes known to inhabit the Red Sea. 

You will find these fishes near the reefs of the Red Sea, swimming in and out of the rock shelters.

These reclusive fishes are ideal for being kept in the aquariums, and their bright purple hue can make your aquarium beautiful.

Unfortunately, the Orchid dottyback is a heavy feeder, and you will find that it loves to eat meaty food.

Therefore, when you add an Orchid dottyback to your aquarium, you must give it shrimp brine, krill, and other similar meaty fish food.

This will keep your Orchid dottyback happy, and you will love to watch it flitting in and out of the various structures in your aquarium.

7. Purple firefish

purple firefish 08052022

The purple firefish is a gentle and non-aggressive fish ideal for an aquarium.

When you see the fish for the first time, you might find it difficult to understand why it’s called purple firefish because the main body of the fish is white.

But if you observe the fish closely, you will find that the fish’s tail and fin are bright and purple and it falls under the category of dartfishes.

It is native to the waters of the Indo-West Pacific, from Mauritius to Samoa, north to the Ryukyu Islands, and south to New Caledonia.

The fish is found in many parts of the world, but if you are planning to add a purple firefish to your aquarium, then ensure that the pH of the water in the aquarium is similar to that of seawater.

8. Crowned woodnymph

crowned woodnymph 08052022

The crowned woodnymph is a small bird, but its bright-colored plumage often gives it the ‘Violet-crowned woodnymph’.

If you observe this bird closely, you will find that the bird’s head and wings are covered with bright purple feathers, while the neck and breast have green feathers.

The contrast of the green and purple feathers makes the bird more beautiful.

However, in the case of the Colombian Violet-crowned woodnymph, you will find that violet feathers cover almost the entire body of the male species of the bird.

Only the neck of the bird has green feathers and it is the male species of the bird that has these bright purple-colored feathers.

The female tends to have dull black, green-mottled feathers with blue-black tails.

9. Purple martin

purple martin 08052022

Purple martins are unique birds that often nest in the ‘martins’ of houses or condominiums.

It is often believed that it is lucky to have purple martins nesting in your home.

You can easily distinguish the male purple martin by its distinctive purple feathers on its back and wings.

Like other species of birds, it is the male purple martin that has such bright feathers while the female has brown and mottles feathers.

Purple martins are foragers, and they look for food in the early hours of the day. They usually survive on insects and always catch their food in mid-flight.

This unique way of finding their food sets these birds apart from other predatory birds.


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