Often seen flying low and slow over fields in
search of prey, the Northern Harrier can be easily identified in flight by the
white rump patch. They were formerly known as the Marsh Hawk.
Habitat: As the former name implies, it is often found in
marshes or sloughs, but may also be found over dryland prairie and farm fields.
Diet: Small mammals, birds,
snakes, frogs, and large insects.
Behavior: Typically hunts by flying low over
fields and open lands. They are capable of hovering when prey is
Nesting: May through June
Song: Piercing whistles and high thin calls.
Migration: Northern populations do migrate, but
southern populations may be semi-permanent residents.
Conservation Status: Seems to be declining, possibly
because of loss of wetland habitat and/or pesticide use.
Cornell University's "All About Birds - Northern Harrier"
Photo Information: April 19th, 2007 - Point Reyes National Seashore, California - Terry Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Northern Harrier photos.