Monday, 20 January 2014

158. Montagu's Harrier (Circus pygargus)

Montagu's Harriers look similar to Hen Harriers, but have narrower wings, which makes them look proportionally longer compared to the body, and as a result a more buoyant flight. Male Montagu's Harriers' plumage is like the male Hen Harrier's, but with a black line across the secondaries on the upperwings, and two black lines on the underwings. I chose this photo specifically to illustrate this! The female looks very similar indeed to the female Hen Harrier, the shape is the best way to tell them apart. Juveniles Montagu's Harriers have plain rufous underparts where the juvenile Hen Harrier's are streaked. Montagu's Harriers are migratory, with a scattered breeding population across parts of Europe - they are a very rare breeder in the UK - and wintering in sub-Saharan Africa. Their preferred habitat is open country, such as heathland, moorland and grassland, and also arable land and marshes/reedbeds.

Montagu's Harrier, ©Cks3976, via Wikimedia Commons.
Montagu's Harrier painting.
Quite a quick one, I probably could have been a bit more generous with the blue - was worried it could end up a bit lurid.

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