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Germany, Hamburg: Dark-ish Harrier - Male Marsh Harrier? (1 Viewer)

Hauksen

Forum member
Hi,

I'd appreciate your help with the identification of the harrier on the photos I posted in this thread:

https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=360478

(I guess it would have been more appropriate to post it here right away, but that only occurred to me when I had already posted in the "Local Patch" sub-subforum ... my apologies!)

They were taken near Hamburg, Germany, on 22 April 2018.

The bird in question was hunting in typical harrier style in low and slow flight, occassionally dropping into the grass, talons extended.

I also saw a female Marsh Harrier nearby, which seemed to ignore the bird in question.

Regards,

Henning
 

Hauksen

Forum member
Hi Richard,

To me it looks fine for an adult (or perhaps 3rd year?) male Marsh Harrier Henning.

Thank you very much!

Svensson doesn't have much information on aging, and shows the underside of the juvenile only ... so it appears the upper side tends to be a little darker until full adult plumage develops?

Regards,

Henning
 

Hauksen

Forum member
Hi Tom,

they are quite variable and this is a darker one, still very far from melanistic

Thanks, that's good to know! I'll pay more attention to these variations in the future :)

I was a bit confused about this bird, as the dark-ish colour was not restricted to the camera picture but also showed well when looking through the scope or binoculars. Great to hear the effect is real and not just imagined!

Regards,

Henning
 

Hauksen

Forum member
Hi Tom,


That's a very interesting article, thanks a lot for sharing the link!

It would make sense that the variability might differ between the French sedentary population and the German migratory population, as the authors point out.

Their point on atypical variations not necessarily recognized by observers looking for "field-guide typical" birds is excellent, too. Quite possible I might have seen atypical Marsh Harriers too, and filed them mentally as "raptor, unidentified" because I couldn't make out any field marks.

Regards,

Henning
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
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