Western Marsh-harrier Circus aeruginosus
(aka Northern/Eurasian Marsh Harrier)
Female Marsh Harrier, Ebro Delta, Spain, November 2001 - click for larger image

The Western Marsh-harrier is found all year round in south-east England Spain, France, around the Mediterranean and the Middle East but is migratory elsewhere, breeding in northern and eastern Europe and central Asia while wintering in sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian sub-continent.

Female Marsh Harrier, Ebro Delta, Spain, November 2001 - click for larger image As the name suggests, they are closely associated with marshes and other wetland habitats over which they fly low looking for prey. This is varied and includes birds, rodents, rabbits, fish, reptiles and invertebrates.

The second photo shows a typical gliding position with the wings raised in a V and a kink between the inner and outer wing.

Female Marsh Harrier, Ebro Delta, Spain, November 2001 - click for larger image The birds in these photos are female showing a creamy crown, nape and leading edge to the inner wing. The creamy throat sets off the dark eye-mask.

The male usually shows greyish wings with black tips, a brownish body and a grey tail.

Female Marsh Harrier, Minsmere, Suffolk, England, March 2005 - click for larger image From below note the broad wings with the rounded tips showing five "fingers". The tail is fairly narrow, rounded and long with a length similar to the width of the wing.

There are illustrations in HBW, Volume 2, Page 136 and Ferguson-Lees, Plate 32.

Female Marsh Harrier, Minsmere, Suffolk, England, March 2005 - click for larger image
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