Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus)

Northern harrier photo


Adult: Slightly smaller than the Northern Goshawk; males usually smaller than females. Harriers express sexual dimorphism in color; females are brown and males are gray. Tail: Long, 4 indistinct bands of light and dark gray. White uppertail coverts (rump patch) can be seen from above. Wings: Long and narrow with black wing tips. Underwings are streaked and light in color. Head: Owl-like facial disk, white feathers around the eye with a stripe running through. Eye: Orange to red.

Immature (shown): Similar to adult female, usually more cinnamon in color. Breast: Streaked.


All open treeless areas including marshes, agricultural fields, and grasslands. Commonly observed flying or hovering close to the ground. Harriers are ground nesting species.


Summer: common resident statewide; Winter: present in southern 1/3 of the state.

Harrier range map


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