Identification of (Western) Marsh Harrier

The Birder's Market | Resource | Birds of Britain and Europe ID Guide | Birds of Prey | (Western) Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus |  Identification of (Western) Marsh Harrier

Example Text From Raptors of the World

Example Text From Raptors of the World

Field Characters
Large, relatively bulky harrier,male brown and grey with streaky creamy or rufous head and underparts (but all black & white in east Asia), female and juvinile brown with creamy/buff on head,all with less obvious facial ruff than most other harriers (e.g Hen),and long wings and tail,smallish head,long slender legs, .Stands horizontally on ground, and perches openly and, at times,more upright on post,tree stump,bush or other slightly elevated vantage,though rarely in tree; wing-tips short of tail-tip.Melanistic and partly melanistic individuals occur throughout much of range,and others with very pale foreparts reported.Sexes dissimilar,female also averaging c5% larger and up to at least 16% heavier;juvinile usually distinct and,although sometimes breeds at two years,not fully adult until at least three.
Perched Plumages
Two distinct forms occur; eastern (spilonotus) sometimes considered seperate species and its various plumages therefore described here in full, after western nominate race. Adult male (nominate);- Variably dark-streaked creamy to straw-yellow rufous (even partly greyish) head in some contrast to dark brown upperparts (edged rufous when fresh),normally with thin creamy-buff on shoulders,and black primaries distinctly contrasting grey secondary-panel that extends onto greater coverts and plain light grey to silvery-grey tail; below,creamy to rusty-brown with heavy dark rufous streaking,becoming more solidly dark on lower belly;but variable,and older males normally palest and brightest, with greys more silvery, while young adults (three years old) generally darker and often with virtually unstreaked rufous underparts from breast to crissum.
Melanistic adult male (nominate).But for normal light silver-grey tail, plumage entirely dark blackish-brown, making bright yellow eyes stand out conspicuously;small blue-grey wing-panel evident only in favourable light,and even then not always...................

To birdwatchers, raptors remain among the most challenging and exciting groups. their distribution is truly global: some of the most widespread species live in northern temperate regions; three-quarters are confined to the tropics of South America, Africa and Indomalayan region through to melanesia. Raptors of the world, part of an award winning series, covers all 313 of the world's species. Each species is illustrated by adult juvenile and selected immature plumages, as well as main geographical races and colour morphs; in all over 2000 perched and flying birds, some with typical prey, are shown on the 112 colour plates. Raptors of the world is in every way a landmark volume which will be the standard reference for this popular group for many years to come.
We highly recommend this book click here for ordering details.....

Sheppey's rare birds of prey come into view

Sheppey's rare birds of prey come into view

What is set to be one of England's most exciting bird of prey viewpoints is being opened on the Isle of Sheppey in north Kent.
The RSPB's Capel Fleet viewpoint, near Eastchurch, will give visitors the chance of observing several species of wild bird of prey, including peregrines and barn owls, and will almost guarantee views of Sheppey's speciality, the marsh harrier. The largest population in the UK of this once-extinct species now breeds on the island.
RSPB Site Manager Alan Johnson said: 'Sheppey is renowned for being one of the very best places in Britain for wild birds of prey - people come from far and wide to try and see them. At Capel Fleet, we have created a specially-raised vantage point with parking and disabled access where, given patience, harriers, hawks, owls and falcons can all be seen'.
Marsh harriers, with their four-foot wingspans, are one of Sheppey's most inspiring species to watch. 2005 has marked their best ever year on Sheppey, with 35 pairs rearing young. They indulge in 'sky-dancing' displays in spring, and in winter they roost communally, when up to 20 birds can be seen circling the skies at Capel Fleet.
'we have created a specially-raised vantage point with parking and disabled access where... harriers, hawks, owls and falcons can all be seen''It has taken major conservation effort to bring marsh harriers back from the brink,' said Alan, 'And on Sheppey, much of the credit must go to the farming community whose work helps these birds flourish. We look forward to the Capel Fleet viewpoint becoming an essential part of the North Kent Marshes experience.'



Medway and Swale Estuary Partnership

Medway and Swale Estuary Partnership

The RSPB is very grateful for the support of farmer Stephen Atwood who owns the land where the viewpoint has been built, and Medway and Swale Estuary Partnership were vital in securing European funding to enable the RSPB to carry out the work.
The site has always been popular with local birdwatchers and Kent Ornithological Society provided additional funding for the project.
RSPB Capel Fleet bird of prey viewpoint is the elevated mound two miles down the minor road from the B2231 towards the Harty Ferry inn. The car-park is open at all times.
A visit to Capel Fleet can be easily combined with a visit to the RSPB reserve at Elmley Marshes on Sheppey, where there are toilet facilities, long walks and observation hides. For more information on this and Capel Fleet viewpoint, contact the RSPB North Kent Marshes team on 01634 222480 or 01634 222489.or click here for the RSPB's web site

for used books about this species, click here
We highly recommend the following New titles....
Raptors of the World
To birdwatchers, raptors remain among the most challenging and exciting groups. Their distribution is truly global: some of the most widespread species live in northern temperate regions; three-quarters are confined to the tropics of South America, Africa and Indomalayan region through to melanesia. Raptors of the world, part of an award winning series, covers all 313 of the world's species. Each species is illustrated by adult juvenile and selected immature plumages, as well as main geographical races and colour morphs; in all over 2000 perched and flying birds, some with typical prey, are shown on the 112 colour plates. Raptors of the world is in every way a landmark volume which will be the standard reference for this popular group for many years to come.
Raptors of the World
Raptors of the World  A Field Guide Raptors of the World A Field Guide
Raptors of the World (Helm, 2001 Above ) is the definitive handbook to this most popular group of birds. This new field guide uses all of the plates from Raptors of the World, with a concise, revised text on facing pages, to create a conveniently-sized, lightweight field reference covering all 320 raptor species. The book also has an updated colour distribution map for each species. Much of the extensive introductory material has been retained in this guide, with the addition of a complete species list containing all subspecies and brief details of their ranges. Armed with this guide, birders will be able to identify with confidence any raptor encountered anywhere in the world.
Harriers of the World
" ... the book is remarkably compact, written in an engaging and easily accessible style, and features many beautiful line drawings by the authors twin brother, John ... We recommend that everyone with even a passing interest in how and why birds do what they do, as well as all those who take study of behaviour, ecology and evolution more seriously, should add this volume to their bookshelves." Africa Birds and Birding
"...a book that is full of ideas and insight."IBIS

Harriers are a world-wide group of birds of prey whose mating systems, population dynamics, and evolution are well-studied. This is the first book to synthesise and analyse the masses of data on the behavioural ecology of harriers. It offers an intriguing comparison of breeding systems among harriers in the northern and southern hemispheres, and includes a new phylogeny of the harriers, based on the most recent DNA findings. It is illustrated throughout with original line drawings of these impressive birds.

Readership: Serious amateur as well as professional ornithologists; researchers and students of ecology and behavioural ecology

Harriers of the World
Harriers Journeys Around the World Harriers Journeys Around the World
Until recently harriers were one of the least known group of birds but after an in-depth study of the Hen Harrier in Northern Ireland, Don Scott succeeded in his passion to observe and study all 16 of the World's species as well as the single subspecies of harrier. This quest which began over 20 years ago in Don's home country has taken him to six continents. His sometimes dangerous journeys encompassed many exotic locations where harriers had previously received little general interest or scientific attention. The author's dogged persistence in the field enabled him to witness traits of behaviour previously unknown in harriers. It began with the unique discovery of tree-nesting Hen Harriers and culminated with the Papuan Harrier in Papua New Guinea.

The Birder's Market | Resource | Birds of Britain and Europe ID Guide | Birds of Prey | (Western) Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus |  Identification of (Western) Marsh Harrier

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