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Madagascar Harrier - BirdForum Opus

Alternative names: Madagascar Marsh Harrier; Malagasy [Marsh] Harrier

Circus macrosceles



  • Head blackish separated from white underside by an area with black streaks.
  • wing underside white with black outer primaries and dark terminal band on other flight feathers.
  • Mantle dark separated from head by streaked area. Dark area continues onto wing coverts, and outer primaries also dark. Rest of upperwing pale grey with 1-2 dark bars.
  • Rump white with narrow dark barring
  • tail is pale grey on upperside, whitish on underside; in perfect light with few narrow dark barrs.


  • Brown upperside
  • Paler streaked with brown on head, nape, underside
  • Wing underside mostly brown with pale inner primary flash
  • Tail brown with darker bars, rump white

Similar species

Reunion Harrier is smaller and differs in several details


Madagascar and the Comoros


This is a monotypic species[1].

This species was recently split from Reunion Harrier. Both have in the past been treated as subspecies of Western Marsh Harrier.


Most frequently encountered over or near wetlands but also occurs in grassland, savannas, rice fields and even edges of forests. More likely at higher elevation.


Resident or nomadic depending on local conditions.

Feeds on insects, reptiles, birds and occasional small mammals.


Males describes as giving calls sounding like "koue" during display


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. del Hoyo, J., N. Collar, J. S. Marks, and C.J. Sharpe (2020). Madagascar Harrier (Circus macrosceles), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (J. del Hoyo, A. Elliott, J. Sargatal, D. A. Christie, and E. de Juana, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.reuhar3.01

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