Spotted Harrier

(Circus assimilis)

Also known as the Spotted Swamphawk, Allied Harrier and Jardine’s Harrier.

Description: A large, slim bodied raptor (bird of prey) with a striking white-spotted chestnut breast and mainly blue grey upper. Typical harriers have an owl like chestnut coloured face, and long yellow legs. A long tail with a wedge shaped tip. Its long broad wings have dark, well rounded “fingered tips”.

It glides slowly with up swept wings, periodically hovering.

Size: 50-62cm – Female is larger than the male.

Voice: Piercing squeaks, rapid chatter

Feeding: Hunts during the day.  Prey is procured on the wing and on the ground, consisting of birds (quails, song larks, pipits), reptiles and small mammals.

Habitat: Generally bird of arid, semi-arid regions – open plains, swamps, crops and windbreaks. They have been seen in the mallee, spinifex and saltbush areas.

Location: Across all of Australia – widespread but vastly distributed. Vagrant to Tasmania.

Nests: Loosely constructed, composed of sticks, and lined with leaves usually well concealed in a bushy tree.

Eggs: 2 to 4 usually 3. Bluish-white, without gloss, the inside of shell is green

Breeding: Variable, mainly August to October – The female incubates the eggs, broods and guards the young. The male hunts and brings food to the female

Acknowledgements: Field Guide to the Birds of Australia: Simpson and Day,  A Naturalists Guide to the Birds of Australia: Dean Ingwersen National Geographic, What Bird is that?: Neville W Cayleys,,

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