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Hen harrier

What am I?

The hen harrier has been severely persecuted for taking game species and has suffered massive declines in numbers as a result.

How to spot them

While males are a pale grey colour, females and immatures are brown with a white rump and a long, barred tail which give them the name ‘ringtail’. They fly with wings held in a shallow ‘V’, gliding low in search of food.

Where to see them

Hen harrier’s over-wintering habitat is lowland farmland, heathland and coastal marshes.

Conservation status

The hen harrier is red listed in the UK. (Opens in a new window)

Did you know?

Female hen harriers are known as ‘ringtails’ due to their distinctive tail banding. Both females and males attend the young; the males provide food, which is often passed, mid-air to the female in a spectacular display of ‘throw and catch’.