Living Organisms / Animalia / Craniata / Aves / Ciconiiformes / Accipitridae / Circus / Species
Circus pygargus - Montagu's harrier (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)

INFORMATION AVAILABLE

GENERAL & REFERENCES

EXTERNAL APPEARANCES

REPRODUCTION

BEHAVIOUR

NATURAL DIET

RANGE & HABITAT

CONSERVATION

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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

  • Busard cendré (French)
  • Wiesenweihe (German)
  • Albanella minore (Italian)
  • Aguilucho cenizo (Spanish)
  • Ängshök (Swedish)
  • Grauwe Kiekendief (Dutch)

Names for newly-hatched

Chick.

Names for non-breeding males or other colour-phases

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References

Species Author

Debra Bourne

Major References

B89, B104, B162, B163, B164, B165, B166

Aviculture references:

ORGANISATIONS
(UK Contacts)

ELECTRONIC LIBRARY
(Further Reading)
Click image for full contents list of ELECTRONIC LIBRARY

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TAXA Group (where information has been collated for an entire group on a modular basis)

Parent Group

  • Birds of Prey

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques

  • Birds of Prey

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Aviculture Information

Notes

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Individual Techniques linked in Wildpro

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External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

Length
  • 39-50cm (B164).
  • Wingspan 96-116cm (B164).
Adult weight General --
Male 227-305g (B104)
Female 319-445g (B104)
Newly-hatched weight --
Growth rate --

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Head

Adult Bill Male Black with cere yellow, hooked (B104, B166).
Variations (If present) --
Eyes Male Yellow (B104, B164).
Variations(If present) --
Juvenile Bill --
Eyes (Iris) Brown, may be grey in males (B104)

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Legs

Adult Male Bright yellow with black claws (B166).
Variations (If present) Yellow, less bright than male, with black claws. (B104)
Juvenile Paler yellow (B104, B164)

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Plumage

Adult Male
  • Head, dorsal body: grey.
  • Ventral body (underparts): white with chestnut streaking.
  • Tail: long narrow and square-ended grey.
  • Wings long and narrow dorsal pale grey, with secondaries paler grey, base of secondaries black tipped (line along wing), primaries (wing tip) black.

(B164, B166)

Variations (If present) Female:
  • Dorsal (upperparts): brown.
  • Tail: brown with darker bands and upper tail coverts white.
  • Ventral (underparts): buffy, streaked brown.
  • Wings: buffy, with flight feathers having darker bands.

(B166).

Juvenile
  • Similar to female, underparts more uniformly rufous (B166).

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Newly-hatched Characteristics

Semi-altricial; downy, eyes open, helpless, require feeding (B163, B166).

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Reproduction

Reproductive Season

Time of year May-June (B166).
No. of Clutches One (B163, B166).

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Nest placement and structure

Platform of twigs, grasses, reeds on the ground in thick vegetation, usually solitary (B163, B164, B166).

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Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average 4-5 (B163, B166).
Range 3-10 (B163).
Egg colour Bluish-white, sometimes with streaky markings (B163, B166).

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Incubation

Average 28-29 days, range 27-30 days (B163); 27-40 days (B166).

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Hatching

Asynchronous; older chicks may kill smaller chicks (B163).

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Fledging

35-40 days (B163, B166).

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Sexual Maturity

Males 2-3 years old (B104, B163).
Females 2-3 years (B104, B163).

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Behaviour

Feeding Behaviour

Adults Fly low over the ground searching for prey. Take insects from ground (B163).
Newly-hatched Require feeding my parents (B163).

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Parental Behaviour

Nest-building By female (B163, B166).
Incubation By female (B163).
Newly-hatched Fed by female; male also brings food (B163).
Juveniles

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Social Behaviour

Intra-specific Solitary or in pairs (B166).
Inter-specific --

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Sexual Behaviour

Monogamous or polygynous, with some males mating with more than one female (B163).

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Predation in Wild

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Activity Patterns

  • Displays include downwards spiralling flight with both wings and tail spread (B163).
  • Perches openly. (B166).
  • Lands and takes off from vegetation or ground (B166).
Circadian Diurnal.

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Natural Diet

Adults

Birds (young and adult) and small mammals, also other vertebrates (e.g. lizards), insects (B163, B164, B166).

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Newly-hatched

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Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

Normal Western and central Palearctic (B89)

Movement:

  • Migratory, wintering in Africa and India (B163, B164); to southern frica and southern Asia. (B89)
  • In Britain: present from April to September (B164).
Occasional and Accidental --
Introduced

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Habitat

Freshwater marshes, heaths, fields, hedges
  • Breeding: open country with bushes and trees. Often near lakes or in river valleys; also open plains, bogs.
  • Winter: usually non-wetland areas.

(B163, B166)

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Conservation

Intraspecific variation

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Conservation Status

Wild Population -
(Importance)

Widespread declines in population; European and central Asian populations fragmented (B163)

  • Britain: only handful of breeding pairs (less than ten pairs) (B164, B166).
General Legislation
  • All Harriers are listed on Schedule 1 - Part I (Birds protected by special penalties: Notes on the revised schedules state "Birds protected by special penalties at all times") of the LUK2 - Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 of the United Kingdom. (W5.Oct01)
  • This species is listed on Schedule 4 (Birds which must be registered and ringed if kept in captivity: Notes on the revised schedules state "Any bird, one of whose parents or other lineal ancestor was a bird of a kind specified in the above list") of the LUK2 - Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 of the United Kingdom. (W5.Oct01)
CITES listing Listing not yet included.
Red-data book listing Listing not yet included.
Threats --

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Captive Populations

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Trade

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