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All information gathered first-hand, since 1995



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Harriers are medium-sized birds of prey, usually with long, narrow wings and long, narrow tails when soaring. Most harriers have pointed wings and the males are grey; only the Marsh Harrier has rounded wings and mostly brown plumage.

Hen Harrier

Circus cyaneus   –   Busard Saint-Martin

Size

43-51 cm

Distinctions

The male Hen Harrier is pale grey and has black wing-tips. Differences from the Montagu's Harrier: larger; prominent white rump.

Habitat

Found in coastal marshes (like the Camargue), dunes and open grassy plains.


Marsh Harrier

Circus aeruginosus   –   Busard des roseaux

The Marsh Harrier is the largest of the harriers, with coloring and wing shape resembling the buzzard. Plumage of the male is mostly brown, with grey only along the back of the wings and the tail. It does have the black wing-tips like the other harriers. The female differs from all other harriers with its white head.

Size

48-56 cm

Habitat

The harrier is common in all of the lowland areas of Beyond, and easily seen in the Camargue.


Montagu's Harrier

Circus pygargus   –   Busard cendré

This is the smallest of the harriers, and closely resembles the Hen Harrier in coloring. Differences from the Hen Harrier: clearly smaller; black bars near the trailing edge of the wings.

Size

41-46 cm

Habitat

Less common in Provence. Usually in migration or during the summer.