Hen harrier in flight

Hen harrier

Hen harriers are almost owl-like in their facial appearance, which distinguishes them from other hawks. The face shape helps the harriers to detect small mammals and birds concealed in vegetation, as they rely on sound as well as sight to pinpoint prey. During the breeding season, males perform a spectacular sky dance, with a series of steep climbs, twists and rolls. Hen harriers exhibit a degree of polygyny, nesting in loose colonies, with males simultaneously raising several broods with as many as seven females.

Scientific name: Circus cyaneus

Rank: Species

Common names:

Northern harrier

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Map showing the distribution of the Hen harrier taxa

Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Hen harrier can be found in a number of locations including: Africa, Asia, China, Europe, Indian subcontinent, Mediterranean, North America, Russia, South America, United Kingdom, Wales, Ynys-hir nature reserve. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


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

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Year assessed: 2009

Classified by: IUCN 3.1