The Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus) is a large bird of prey, a raptor and an accipiter in the Accipitridae family of hawks.
The Western Marsh Harrier has reddish-brown feathers with light coloured streaks. Its head and shoulders are pale yellowish-grey. Its legs and feet are yellow. It has orange-brown eyes with a bright yellow eye-ring. Its beak is grey-black. The female is darker, and almost chocolate brown.
It grows to 43-54 centimetres (17-21 inches) tall, with a wingspan of 115-130 centimetres (45-51 inches).
It is native to western Eurasia, Africa, and Central Asia, in countries such as China, Mongolia, and Siberia. It prefers wetland locations, marshlands, and open habitats.
It is diurnal, active during the day.
It feeds on small mammals, birds, insects, reptiles, and frogs. It glides low over open ground, often circling, in search of prey.
The Western Marsh Harrier makes a nest on the ground. It is made of sticks, reeds, and grass. The female lays 3-8 eggs, which hatch after 31-38 days.
[Location of photographs: Dushanbe Zoo, Tajikistan]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM