Hen Harrier ID Powerpoint

Hen Harrier Species ID and behavior
Hen Harrier Identifying features
Harriers when flying are usually recognisable even at a
distance by the shallow 'V' shape of their wings
Hen Harrier Identifying features
Hen Harriers (and other harriers) have an almost 'owl like'
flat facial disc
Hen Harrier Identifying features
A distinct white rump – upper tail coverts
Note the relatively long tail - compared to the body length
Also note HH are slim birds with noticeably long and broad wings.
Female hen harriers have a wingspan of up to 118 centimetres
(almost 4 feet), and a body length of 55 centimetres (almost 2 feet),
whilst males are slightly smaller.
Hen Harrier Identification – Annual Cycle
Hen Harrier Identification - Behaviour
Hunting – Their hunting behaviour is quite distinctive, using
a flapping, buoyant flight they quarter the ground, in less
favourable weather they often fly into the wind, using the
currents to help keep aloft.
The hunting style is not dis-similar to that of Short-eared
Hen Harrier Identification - Behaviour
Display - Most hen harriers arrive back on their
breeding grounds in March or April.
The males soon begin to indulge in spectacular, aerobatic
display flights in order to attract a female.
Aerial displays between paired birds include turning over in
flight with talons outstretched, rapid, roller-coaster
chases and dramatic stoops towards
Hen Harrier Identification - Behaviour
Please click HERE To play a short video of a male Hen Harrier
during courtship display
Hen Harrier Identification - Behaviour
Food pass - Male hen harriers make food-flights, where
they fly over and around the nesting territory carrying prey or
another object (e.g. heather stick, clod of earth) in one foot.
Full food presentation to the female begins intermittently
prior to laying and continues as full provisioning of the
female through to early chick rearing.
Aerial food passes are made within the nesting territory,
normally very close to the nest: the female usually calls on
seeing the approaching male and may fly up to meet him.
However, in the early stages of nesting, food may be passed
to the female on the ground or even left near the nest for her
to collect.
Hen Harrier Identification – Behaviour – Food Pass
Please click HERETo play a short video of a food pass between a
pair of Hen Harriers
Ring-tail - juvenile or adult female
Separation of juvenile and immature birds from adult females
on plumage very difficult; adult females tend to have paler
underparts but there is considerable variation.
Young brown males are smaller and less bulky in appearance;
the majority begin to moult into grey adult plumage in the
spring/summer of their second calendar year, during which
time they will appear partially coloured until the moult is
completed by the autumn of the same year.
After the post-juvenile moult the plumage is generally like an
adult male but has a darker area on the back (mantle and
scapulars) and a brownish nape (hindneck) patch; these
feathers may not completely disappear until birds are four or
five years old