Western marsh harrier

The yellow-eyed devil

Paco Gómez

The Western Marsh Harrier, also known as the Eurasian Marsh Harrier, is a captivating species of raptor that graces the skies across vast expanses of Eurasia and parts of Africa. With its imposing size and striking plumage, this majestic bird of prey commands attention wherever it is seen.

Adult male Western Marsh Harriers boasts a stunning array of colors that make them easily distinguishable in flight. Their tricolored upper wings, featuring shades of brown, grey, and white, create a striking contrast against the backdrop of the sky. A pale head and breast, complemented by a rusty-brown belly, further enhance their visual appeal. In contrast, females exhibit a warmer brown hue with streaks on the chest, lacking the conspicuous white ‘cap’ and black line through the eye seen in males. These subtle differences in plumage help distinguish them from their closely related counterparts, the Eastern Marsh-Harriers.

The breeding range of the Western Marsh Harrier spans across Europe, northwestern Africa, Central Asia, and parts of the northern Middle East. It is a remarkably adaptable species, capable of thriving in a diverse range of habitats, including marshlands, wetlands, and grasslands. Despite its expansive distribution, the Western Marsh Harrier exhibits a preference for breeding in lowland areas, avoiding hilly terrain and subarctic regions.

Throughout much of Europe, the Western Marsh Harrier is a familiar sight, breeding in practically every country on the continent. However, its presence in certain regions may be more limited, particularly in mountainous or subarctic landscapes where suitable breeding habitat is scarce. Nevertheless, its adaptability and resilience have enabled it to establish breeding populations in a wide variety of environments, showcasing its remarkable ability to thrive in diverse ecosystems.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Afghanistan
2021
Albania
2021
Algeria
2021
Andorra
2021
Passage
Angola
2021
Non-Breeding
Armenia
2021
Austria
2021
Azerbaijan
2021
Breeding
Bahrain
2021
Passage
Bangladesh
2021
Non-Breeding
Belarus
2021
Breeding
Belgium
2021
Benin
2021
Non-Breeding
Bhutan
2021
Vagrant
Bosnia And Herz.
2021
Bulgaria
2021
Burkina Faso
2021
Non-Breeding
Burundi
2021
Non-Breeding
Cameroon
2021
Non-Breeding
Cape Verde
2021
Non-Breeding
Central Af. Rep.
2021
Non-Breeding
Chad
2021
Non-Breeding
China
2021
Breeding
Congo-Brazzaville
2021
Non-Breeding
Croatia
2021
Cyprus
2021
Czechia
2021
Breeding
Côte D’ivoire
2021
Non-Breeding
DR Congo (Kinshasa)
2021
Non-Breeding
Denmark
2021
Djibouti
2021
Passage
Egypt
2021
Eritrea
2021
Non-Breeding
Estonia
2021
Breeding
Ethiopia
2021
Non-Breeding
Faroe Islands
2021
Vagrant
Finland
2021
France
2021
Gabon
2021
Non-Breeding
Gambia
2021
Non-Breeding
Georgia
2021
Germany
2021
Ghana
2021
Non-Breeding
Gibraltar
2021
Passage
Greece
2021
Guadeloupe
2021
Vagrant
Guinea-Bissau
2021
Non-Breeding
Guinea
2021
Non-Breeding
Hungary
2021
Breeding
Iceland
2021
Vagrant
India
2021
Non-Breeding
Indonesia
2021
Vagrant
Iran
2021
Iraq
2021
Ireland
0
Official estimate
EX
2021
Extinct 1918
Israel
2021
Italy
2021
Jordan
2021
Kazakhstan
2021
Breeding
Kenya
2021
Non-Breeding
Kuwait
2021
Kyrgyzstan
2021
Breeding
Latvia
2021
Breeding
Lebanon
2021
Liberia
2021
Non-Breeding
Libya
2021
Passage
Liechtenstein
2021
Passage
Lithuania
2021
Breeding
Luxembourg
2021
Malawi
2021
Non-Breeding
Malaysia
2021
Vagrant
Maldives
2021
Non-Breeding
Mali
2021
Non-Breeding
Malta
2021
Passage
Mauritania
2021
Mauritius
2021
Vagrant
Moldova
2021
Mongolia
2021
Montenegro
2021
Morocco
2021
Mozambique
2021
Non-Breeding
Myanmar
2021
Non-Breeding
Nepal
2021
Non-Breeding
Netherlands
2021
Niger
2021
Non-Breeding
Nigeria
2021
Non-Breeding
North Macedonia
2021
Norway
2021
Oman
2021
Pakistan
2021
Poland
2021
Portugal
2021
Qatar
2021
Passage
Romania
2021
Russia
2021
Breeding
Rwanda
2021
Non-Breeding
Saudi Arabia
2021
Senegal
2021
Non-Breeding
Serbia
2021
Seychelles
2021
Vagrant
Sierra Leone
2021
Non-Breeding
Singapore
2021
Vagrant
Slovakia
2021
Slovenia
2021
Somalia
2021
South Africa
2021
Non-Breeding
South Sudan
2021
Non-Breeding
Spain
2021
Canary Is.
Sri Lanka
2021
Non-Breeding
Sudan
2021
Non-Breeding
Sweden
2021
Switzerland
2021
Syria
2021
Tajikistan
2021
Breeding
Tanzania
2021
Non-Breeding
Thailand
2021
Vagrant
Togo
2021
Non-Breeding
Tunisia
2021
Turkey
2021
Turkmenistan
2021
Breeding
UAE
2021
Uganda
2021
Non-Breeding
Ukraine
2021
United Kingdom
2021
Uzbekistan
2021
Breeding
Yemen
2021
Passage
Zambia
2021
Non-Breeding
Zimbabwe
2021
Non-Breeding

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No