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Western Marsh Harrier

From Opus

Alternative name: Eurasian Marsh Harrier

Nominate subspecies MalePhoto by Alok TewariKeoladeo National Park, India, December-2016
Nominate subspecies Male
Photo by Alok Tewari
Keoladeo National Park, India, December-2016
Circus aeruginosus


[edit] Identification

43–54 cm (17-21¼ in) Male - wings with grey and brown sections and black wingtips, head, tail and underparts are grey, chestnut belly. Female - mainly brown with a cream crown and cream leading edge to her wings.

[edit] Similar Species

African Marsh Harrier and Eastern Marsh Harrier are the closest.

[edit] Distribution

Nominate subspecies FemalePhoto by Alok TewariGurgaon, Haryana, India, March-2015
Nominate subspecies Female
Photo by Alok Tewari
Gurgaon, Haryana, India, March-2015
Nominate subspeciesPhoto by stejonMeldorfer Bay, Germany, May 2003
Nominate subspecies
Photo by stejon
Meldorfer Bay, Germany, May 2003

Eurasia and north Africa. Widely distributed in the Western Palearctic region from Spain and northwest Africa, east across Russia to Central Asia and north to Scandinavia. It is extremely patchy across most of this area but there are small breeding populations in most countries of mainland Europe, as well as southern Britain, Sweden and Finland. Also breeds in Morocco, northern Algeria and Tunisia, and parts of Turkey and Iraq. Has begun a major expansion in northern Europe in recent decades after declining through persecution and loss of habitat. However, the species is still under pressure in parts of the Mediterranean, eastern Europe and the Middle East. Increasing in Britain with about 200 pairs present in 2000 from southeast England north to central Scotland.

Northern and eastern populations are migratory and winter in Africa and around the Mediterranean. Birds from Britain, France and Spain, and those from the eastern Mediterranean are resident or dispersive. A broad-front migrant but still appears at migration watchpoints in some numbers, particularly Gibraltar and Borçka. Wintering in central and eastern Europe is rare but does occur at Lake Neusiedl in Austria. Recorded as a vagrant in Iceland and the Faroes, Madeira and on the Azores.

[edit] Taxonomy

A number of current species have in the past been seen as subspecies of Western Marsh Harrier: Eastern Marsh Harrier, Swamp Harrier, Reunion Harrier, African Marsh Harrier

[edit] Subspecies

There are 2 subspecies[1]:

  • C. a. aeruginosus:
  • C. a. harterti:

[edit] Habitat

Breeds in reedbeds or other dense vegetation beside lakes, ponds and rivers or in marshes. Rarely, may nest in cornfields or heather. Hunts over water, reedbeds and adjacent farmland.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Diet

They prey on marsh birds and mammals. The diet includes birds' eggs, snakes, lizards, frogs, fish and insects.

[edit] Vocalisation

Listen in an external program

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. Downloaded from
  2. Cyprus

[edit] External Links


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