093 Montagu's Harrier
(Circus pygargus)


39-50cm. The Montagu's Harrier has very long and narrow wings, slim body and narrow, long tail. Flight buoyant and tern-like, especially male. Female very similar to female Pallid Harrier. Melanistic birds occur rarely in W Europe. Adult male: Resembles male Northern (aka Hen) Harrier, but differs in shape, flight and in having black bands across secondaries. Chestnut streaks on belly detectable at close range. Adult female: Best separated from Northern Harrier by shape. From Pallid by slightly narrower wing-base; obvious dark band across brown secondaries above, just outside coverts; widely spaced prominent dark bands across pale buff secondaries below, pale colour not darkening towards body as on Pallid.


With a slightly increasing population it regularly breeds in certain farmlands, wet meadows, bogs and sedge bog east of the River Tisza, in the Danube-Tisza Plain and in Transdanubia. Migrant. In spring it migrates between March and late April, in autumn between late August and late September.

093 Montagu's Harrier pic

© Graphics by Szabolcs Kókay

Source: 1) Lovászi Péter (editor): Javasolt különleges madárvédelmi területek Magyarországon, Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2002; 2) BirdLife International:IUCN Red List for birds. Species factsheet; 3) Králl Attila, Nagy Károly: Fontos Madárélőhelyek Magyarországon (Területek, kritériumok és minősítő fajok) MME Monitoring Központ, 2007; 4) Szabolcs Kókay bird illustrations; 5) www.hungarianbirdwatching.com bird descriptions and checklists, 2004-2012; 6) Lars Svensson et al.: Collins Bird Guide: The Most Complete Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe 2nd Edition, Harper Collins, 2010; 7) MME Nomenclator Bizottság: Nomenclator avium Hungariae. An annotated list of the birds of Hungary. Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2008