Montagu's harrier in flight over field


Harriers are birds of prey often associated with the world's wetlands: marshes, swamps and bogs. Most birds patrol low over this open ground hunting small mammals, reptiles and birds. Nests are made in the dense vegetation on the ground. Many of the 14 species in this group, such as the pallid harrier and Montagu's harrier, are migratory and move to warmer climates for the winter. Some species, such as the African marsh harrier, remain in their breeding territories all year.

Scientific name: Circus

Rank: Genus


Map showing the distribution of the Harriers taxa

The shading illustrates the diversity of this group - the darker the colour the greater the number of species. Data provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

Explore this group


The following habitats are found across the Harriers distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web