Northern Harrier Information
Length: 16 - 24"
In the Northeast, the Northern Harrier is found in freshwater marshes, saltwater marshes, wet meadows, sloughs, swamps, and open fields. It requires open country for hunting.
Calls of the Northern Harrier
The diet of the Northern Harrier consists mostly of small mammals such as voles, mice, and shrews. It also preys on small rabbits, small birds, reptiles, amphibians, and large insects.
Additional Photos and Information
Description, habitat, behavior, diet, and nesting. Includes photos and range map. (From BirdWeb)
Photos of Northern Harrier
From Peter LaTourrette's Bird Photo Gallery
Northern Harrier in Flight - Female
© David Blevins
- Medium-sized, long-winged, long-tailed hawk
- Rounded wings, can appear pointed while gliding
- White rump
- Short, dark, hooked beak
- Often courses low over marshes and fields on wings
held in a strong dihedral
- Flat face with owl-like facial disk
- Pale gray body plumage, paler on underparts
- Darker gray head
- Black tips to flight feathers, especially noticeable on
the outer primaries
- Narrow dark bars on tail
- Buff underparts with darker streaks on breast, belly,
and underwing coverts
- Dark barring on flight feathers most visible from below
- Dark patch on inner wing created by dark secondaries
and dark secondary covert
- Dark brown above
- Narrow barring on tail
(Credit: U. S. Geological Survey)
Breeding Bird Survey Map,
(Image credit: USGS)
Range Maps from Cornell
Northern Harrier breeding, winter and year-round range.
Includes separate map of sightings.
Christmas Bird Count Map
Historical CBC Map from USGS