Pallid Harrier

The Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus) is a migratory bird of prey of the harrier family. It can be found in southern parts of eastern Europe and central Asia and winters mainly in India and southeast Asia. It is a very rare visitor to Great Britain and western Europe, although remarkably a juvenile wintered in Norfolk in the winter of 2002-2003.

This medium-sized raptor breeds on open plains, bogs and heathland but in winter prefers open country.

This typical harrier has long wings held in a shallow V during its low flight. It also favors other harriers because males and females of this species have very distinct plumages.

The male is whitish grey above and white below, with narrow black wingtips. The female is brown above with white upper tail coverts. Ffemales and the juveniles are often called “ringtails”. Her underparts are buff streaked with brown. It is best distinguished from the female Hen Harrier based on structure. It is very similar to the female Montagu’s Harrier, but has darker and more uniform secondaries from below.

Pallid Harriers prey on small mammals, lizards and birds, surprising them as they drift low over fields and moors.

The nest of this species is on the ground into which 4-6 whitish eggs are laid.