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Hen Harrier? Shropshire UK (1 Viewer)

stevethehydra

Well-known member
Seen yesterday on the Long Mynd, flushed up from heather/bracken scrub. Looked about Common Buzzard size but distinctly slenderer wings, and the most striking feature was the white rump! Got 4 photos at increasing distance and decreasing clarity.

The first photo clearly shows a harrier face. The only thing that makes me at all unsure for Hen is that it seemed such a dark brown - about the same as the darkest Common Buzzards that I generally see, maybe not quite as dark as I'd expect a female Marsh Harrier - but as far as I can tell, Marsh Harrier never has a white rump in any plumage??
 

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Hello Steve,
I agree with you and Welsh Peregrine, its clearly one of the "Ring-tailed Harriers" by the features you mentioned (and no Marsh Harrier). It looks good for a Hen indeed and it is no Montagues imo by broad wings with no sharp wingpoint (your bird seems broad and rounded winged enough, that no critical analysys of the wing formula is necessary I think).
Please note broad dark bars in the tail, that would be narrower in a Common Buzzard.
Is it a rare female Pallid or are there signs of an hybrid with this species? This answer is one for the real experts here, but your bird looks good for a Hen Harrier to me.
 
Thanks for the confirmation! My mental image of female Hen Harriers was of a much paler bird, closer to Kestrel in colour if maybe less rufous, not something comparable to a dark buzzard - but it was "dramatic" lighting with a grey cloudy sky at that point, so maybe the light influenced my colour perception...
 
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