MONTAGU'S HARRIER. Circus pygarus
IDENTIFICATION. Both male and female Montagu's Harriers have long 'jointed' wings with long narrow tails The males are grey in colour with black wing tips and a dark line running along the top of the wing to the body. Unlike Hen Harriers the males have no white on the rump and that combined with the lighter frame and the dark wing band help separate the two species. The females, like Hen Harriers, are brown instead of grey, but can be identified by the smaller white rump and lighter build.
Often mistaken for Hen Harriers.
IN FLIGHT. When in flight Montagu's Harriers have a flap glide style typical of harriers.
DISTRIBUTION. A rare summer visitor to the South and South West of England. Migrants come to Europe from North Africa and Asia. Preferred habitat being dry heaths and conifer plantations as well as marsh and moorland.
WHEN SEEN. Summer.
FOOD. Small mammals. Birds and their eggs. Amphibians and insects.
BREEDING. May. 4 to 10 eggs laid on a ground nest. Young hatch after 4 weeks, flying 5-6 weeks later.
SIZE. 41-46cm (16-18ins)
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).