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Swamp Harrier - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Gallus
Swan Lake, Victoria, Australia, October 2005

Alternative name: Australian Harrier

Circus approximans

Identification

48–61 cm (19-24 in)

  • Dark brown overall plumage, becoming lighter with age
  • White rump.

Females larger than males.

Distribution

Immature
Photo © by Ken Doy
Atkinsons Dam, Queensland, Australia, July 2020

Australasia. Breeds in southern New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand and on many Pacific islands including the Society Islands, Tonga, the Fiji Islands from Kandavu to the Lau Archipelago, Vanuatu (reported on Aneiteum, Tanna, Erromanga, Efate and Santo), the Loyalty Islands and New Caledonia, Lifu and Uvea.

Widespread in Australia, particularly in the north, east and south-east, but also in the south-western corner and can occur throughout most of the country except the more arid regions of the interior. China and in Hokkaido and Honshu in Japan. Also occurs in Tasmania where a summer visitor.

In New Zealand breeds on North and South Islands and a straggler south to the Auckland and Campbell Islands.

Taxonomy

This is a monotypic species

Pacific Marsh Harrier (Swamp Harrier) is treated as a race of Western Marsh Harrier C. aeroginosus by some authors

Habitat

Open country, crops, paddyfields and swamps.

Behaviour

Diet

Their diet consists mostly of small mammals, birds and eggs, reptiles, amphibians, fish, large insects and carrion.

Breeding

The nest on the ground, often in swamps, constructing a platform nest from sticks, reeds and dried grass. In amongst reeds or other dense vegetation. The clutch contains 3-4 eggs which are incubated for about 33 days, with chicks fledging about 45 days later.

References

  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. Debus, S. and G. M. Kirwan (2020). Swamp Harrier (Circus approximans), 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.swahar1.01

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