Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus)

The Pallid Harrier is a large, 19" (48cm) slim, narrow-winged and long tailed bird. Females are larger than males.
Males have pale grey upperparts, off-white underparts and a distinguishing black wedge at the wing tips, best seen when flying.
Females have brown upperparts and streaked buff-brown underparts. A strongly barred tail, with a white bar across the upper tail coverts. The flight feathers are pale grey below, with dark bars. Seen at close range, the dark cheeks contrast with the plainly seen pale collar.
Males are similar to male Montagu's Harrier, but lacks the black bars on the secondary feathers and has less black in the wing-tips.
Females are similar to female Montagu's Harrier, but have more distinct collars and lack the black bands on the undersides of the secondaries.

Pallid Harriers are normally seen alone and make little sound.

Pallid Harriers eat small mammals, rodents, birds and larger insects.

Pallid Harriers are paleartic migrants, seen in Kenya from October to March. They are seen in central and western Kenya and more commonly in SE Kenya. Often seen on grassy plains, perched on low posts or on the ground.

Extra Pallid Harrier Facts
Pallid Harriers fly like Falcons; low and over open ground, tilting from side-to-side.
The Pallid Harrier's scientific name (Circus macrourus) is from Ancient Greek. 'Circus' is from 'kirkos' - 'circle', due to its circuitous flight pattern. 'macrourus' is from 'makros' - 'long' - and - 'ouros' - 'tail', due to its long tail.
The Pallid Harrier's wingspan is more than twice the length of its body, at 47" (120cm).

Photographed in Kenya's Masai Mara.

Categories & Keywords
Subcategory Detail:
Keywords:bird, harrier, kenya, pallid harrier, wildlife

Pallid Harrier ~ Male, Head Turned

Male Pallid Harrier, perched on a small pile of earth or dung on a road in Kenya's Masai Mara.

Pallid Harrier ~ Male, Jumping

Male Pallid Harrier, jumping down onto a pile of earth or dung, trying to dislodge insects.