Northern harrier Circus cyaneus

Identification Tips:

Adult male:

Adult female:


Similar species:

In typical habitat, the harrier is easily recognized by the low, coursing flight, white rump, and wings held at an angle. Rough-legged Hawks occupy similar habitat but have broader wings and a black subterminal tail band. When migrating, harriers can fly at great heights where many of their features become less obvious. The white rump cannot be seen, the wings may not appear held at an angle and the tail may be fanned. The pale underwings with black primary tips of the male make it distinctive. The dark inner wingss of females and immatures are a helpful clue. Harriers appear thinner-winged and longer-tailed than buteos and longer-winged than accipiters.