HEN HARRIER The hen harrier is a bird of prey which was once famous for predating fowl, giving the species its name. They are the one of the most endangered species of raptor in the UK. Males and females both have a white patch on their lower backs, but this is the only similarity. Males are pale grey, with slender wings that are tipped with black feathers. Females are mainly brown, with heavily streaked body, tail and wings, which are usually black or white. Juvenile hen harriers are bare similar colours and markings as the females. When a hen harrier spreads it wings you will see 5 distinct and separate tips also referred to as ‘fingers’. Behaviour Hen harriers are raptors (birds of prey), meaning they primarily feed on vertebrates. They will hunt their prey by slowly flying low over an area, dividing it onto quarters and listening for prey. They feed primarily on small birds and mammals but can adapt to insects, reptiles and amphibians when other prey is not available. Hen harriers often hunt on grouse moors meaning young grouse are often a crucial part of their diet. Juvenile hen harriers roam widely in their adolescent years before settling in one spot to breed. Size Length: 44-55cm Wingspan: 1 – 1.2m Weight: 300-500g (females are large than males) Average life span: 7 years Status According to the Birds of Conservation Concern 4 (2015) the Hen Harrier is classified as RED status. There is evidence that the numbers of hen harriers in Scotland and the UK more generally have been declining in recent decades. When to see January – December Facts Banding on a female hen harriers tail earned them the nickname ‘ringtails’ Hen harriers, particularly those on Orkney, are known to practice polygyny. This means that one male hen harrier will mate with several females and bring food to their nests throughout the breeding season. During the 19th century, the hen harriers were eradicated on mainland Scotland due to the expansion of game hunting estates. Despite the best efforts of changing legislation to protect the species and the…
Click on any of my Isle of Man wildlife images in the below Gallery for a larger view and then use the arrows at the bottom left of each of the images to view in a slideshow. All of my Isle of Man wildlife images have been captured responsibly with the welfare of all birds and wildlife uppermost and in line with the Codes of Conduct for Birdwatchers and Photographers as published by Manx Bird Life website, which also has a web link to the Isle of Man Governments code for Birdwatchers and Photographers web page. Feel free to make any comments on this page by clicking the “comments” link above or by clicking here enjoy – Click on any of the images for a larger view.
A beautiful juvenile Sparrowhawk at the Calf of Man Bird Observatory. Feel free to make any comments either on this website by clicking the “Leave a comment” above or by logging onto my Facebook Page enjoy – Click on the image for a larger view.
Wild Birds & Winter Berries at Ramsey Quayside this morning. These images have also been added to my Isle of Man Wildlife Page Image 1 – Redwing. Image 2 – Blackbird. Image 3 – Starling Feel free to make any comments either on this website by clicking the “Leave a comment” above or by logging onto my Facebook Page enjoy – Click on the image for a larger view.