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MARSH HARRIER. Circus aeruginosus

IDENTIFICATION. Marsh Harriers plumage varies depending on the age and sex of the raptor. Like other harriers they have long 'jointed' wings with long narrow tails. The males have creamy heads, brown bodies and grey tails. The female is similar with a creamy leading edge to the wings, but unlike other harriers she has no white on the rump.  

The largest of the harrier's the Marsh Harrier may be mistaken for other harriers or buzzards.

IN FLIGHT. The flight of the Marsh Harrier has a flap glide style close to the ground, with the wings being held in a shallow V for the glide.

DISTRIBUTION. A bird of marsh, heath and agricultural land. Not as wide spread as Hen Harriers, they can be found in the East and South West of England.

WHEN SEEN. All year round.

FOOD. Small mammals, amphibians and birds, including their eggs. Like other harries the Marsh Harrier quarters an area of ground grabbing whatever prey it disturbs.

BREEDING. April. 3 to 8 eggs laid on a nest of reeds hidden on watery ground. Young hatch after 4- 5 weeks, flying 5-8 weeks later.

SIZE. 48-56cm (19-22ins)

WINGSPAN. 115cm - 130cm (3ft 9in- 4ft 3in)

CALL. kee-kee-kee or Mew


Not generally used in falconry.

NB. If you buy one of these raptors it should be fitted with a closed leg ring and have an Article 10 form with it (any queries check with DEFRA).

Falconry marks

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