NORTHERN HARRIER

NORTHERN HARRIER – (Circus hudsonius)

The Northern harrier is a bird of prey in the same family as hawks and eagles. It has a medium size at a length of approximately 50 cm (20 in.). The male is dark brown with a lighter circle around the face, with black wing tips. This circle gives the bird its Latin name. The female is lighter brown. The under parts are white with brown streaks.

This species lives in open habitats where it can find its prey. The northern harrier is also called ‘good hawk’ by farmers because as opposed to other hawks, this one will not raid poultry. Their main diet consists of small mammals such as meadow voles, but males will also hunt smaller birds.

The northern harrier is fairly common in PEI, except in the winter. It is widespread in North America, and migrates in Mexico and the Caribbean. The northernmost populations will migrate to the southernmost locations (leapfrog migration).

Northern harrier - North Rustico, PEI - Oct. 18, 2015 - by Matt Beardsley
Northern harrier – North Rustico, PEI – Oct. 18, 2015 – by Matt Beardsley
Northern Harrier in flight - Priest Pond, PEI - June 14, 2017 - © Isobel Fitzpatrick
Northern Harrier in flight – Priest Pond, PEI – June 14, 2017 – © Isobel Fitzpatrick

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