Friday, 17 January 2014

156. Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)

Western Marsh Harrier populations are on the increase in the UK, having previously been at a very low ebb due primarily to habitat loss - they are reedbed specialists, so now they are benefiting from large-scale habitat recreation and are starting to recolonise areas they'd formerly been absent from. Like other harriers they show very striking sexual dimorphism - the bird in the photo is a male, with his rich brown body, pale creamy head, black-tipped pale grey wings and pale grey tail. The females can vary quiet a lot but are usually dark brown with a creamy coloured throat, crown and forewing. Juveniles look similar to adult females but are generally darker brown. Western Marsh Harriers are widely distributed throughout Europe; populations in the south and west are resident, but the rest are mostly migratory, spending the winter in Africa.

Western Marsh Harrier, ©Boldings, via Wikimedia Commons.
Western Marsh Harrier painting.
Aharr, I don't think this is too bad at all.

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