Northern Harrier

Immature Harrier


Immature Harrier
(Note the facial disc)



Photos: Erich Neupert

NORTHERN HARRIER

Northern Harrier
Circus cynaeus

The Northern Harrier is a winter visitor to north Texas.

Species information:

Length:           18”
Wingspan:      43”
Weight:         1 lb

Plumage: White rump patch always obvious, otherwise the adult males and females look quite different. The males are almost white on the chest and underside of wings with black tips. The back and topside of wings are gray. Tail is gray and black striped.   The females are mostly mottled brown all over.  Harriers have an owl-like facial disc

Habitat: Found in open fields and marshes.

Flight: Very erratic flight, known as ‘coursing’.   A combination of flapping and gliding with no consistency.   Again, the white rump patch will be obvious.

Vocalization: Female and young have high-pitched whistle.   Males have fast call ‘kekekekeke’.

Food: Small birds and rodents.

Nesting: On the ground, usually around tall vegetation. There are 4 – 6 eggs that hatch in about 35 days. Young fledge in about 40 days.

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