Western Marsh Harrier

As it glides effortlessly through the air, the Marsh Harrier seems almost to dance with the wind, a master of flight and a symbol of freedom. Its haunting cry echoes across the marshes, a haunting melody that speaks of the untamed wildness of the world.

Truly, the Western Marsh Harrier is a creature to be admired and revered, a living embodiment of the power and majesty of nature.

Bird CharacteristicDescription
Common NameWestern Marsh Harrier
Scientific NameCircus aeruginosus
Colour (s)Brown and cream
Average Length47 – 56 cm
Average Height44 – 55 cm
Weight400 – 800 g
Type of BirdWetlands
Origin country (ies)Breeds in Europe and Asia
Month it comes to IndiaSeptember – April
Location in IndiaWetlands across India
IUCN statusLeast Concern


The Western Marsh Harrier, also known as the Eurasian Marsh Harrier, is a medium-sized bird of prey that can be found in wetlands and marshes throughout Europe and parts of Asia. Adult males have a distinctive yellowish-brown plumage with black wingtips, while females and juveniles have a darker brown colouration with a streaked underbelly. The Western Marsh Harrier stands at around 50-60 centimetres tall.

On average, the male Western Marsh Harrier weighs between 300-400 grams, while the female is slightly larger and can weigh up to 600 grams. They is a skilled hunter and can fly at speeds of up to 60 kilometres per hour, making it a formidable predator.

The body length of the Western Marsh Harrier ranges from 45-55 centimetres. The wingspan of the Western Marsh Harrier can reach up to 115-125 centimetres, allowing it to soar effortlessly through the air and cover large distances in search of prey.

Habitat and Food

These birds are adapted to hunting in wetland environments, using their keen eyesight and sharp talons to catch a variety of prey. Their diet consists mainly of small mammals such as voles and shrews, as well as birds, reptiles, and amphibians. They are also known to feed on fish and insects in some areas.

In order to hunt effectively in wetlands, Western Marsh Harriers use their unique flying abilities to soar over the marshes and reed beds, searching for prey from above.


The Western Marsh Harrier is a migratory bird of prey that originates from the Palearctic region, which includes Europe, Asia, and North Africa. During the winter months, they undertake long-distance migration to reach their wintering grounds in India and other parts of Southeast Asia.

The Western Marsh Harrier typically arrives in India during the months of September and October, after completing a long and arduous journey across the Himalayas and other challenging terrain. They primarily migrate to the wetlands of northern and eastern India, including the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, and Assam. These wetlands provide the birds with ample food and resting places, making them ideal wintering grounds.

The purpose of the Western Marsh Harrier’s migration to India is primarily for food and resting. The wetlands of northern and eastern India provide the birds with a rich source of food, including small mammals, birds, and reptiles. The wetlands also provide a safe place for the birds to rest and recover from the rigors of their long migration journey.

During their winter stay in India, the Western Marsh Harriers engage in breeding activities as well. They typically breed during the months of March and April, building their nests in the dense vegetation of the wetlands. Once the breeding season is over, they begin their return journey to their breeding grounds in the Palearctic region, usually in the month of April or May.

IUCN Status

The Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus), also known as the Eurasian Marsh Harrier, is a bird of prey that is widely distributed throughout Europe and Asia. It is listed as a species of “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, indicating that it is not currently considered to be at significant risk of extinction.

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