Western Marsh Harrier
Circus aeruginosus

– medium-sized raptor, roughly size of Common Buzzard but slimmer
– diurnal migrant, active sea-crossing
– migrates singly, often flocks at migration bottlenecks


Western Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus harterti, 1CY
BIF1900, 31/12/2012, Larache, Morroco, Mathias Putze
typical harrier: wings held in `V´ when soaring, JUV with unusally extensive creamy-yellow on forewing


Western Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus harterti, 1CY
BIF1901, 31/12/2012, Larache, Morroco, Mathias Putze
same as BIF1900, aged as 1CY by one-generation remiges and very dark eye, individual with unusally extensive creamy-yellow patches on breast and underwing


Western Marsh Harrier Circus a. aeruginosus, 1CY
BIF1902, 24/07/2013, Prignitz, Germany, Mathias Putze
more typical JUV with uniformly dark brown body and underwings, head with yellow-ochre crown and throat and brown eye-mask


Western Marsh Harrier Circus a. aeruginosus, 1CY
BIF1903, 18/08/2012, Havelland, Germany, Mathias Putze
very dark juvenile with diagnostic head-pattern, upperwing with pale tips of GC and PC


Western Marsh Harrier Circus a. aeruginosus, 1CY
BIF1898, 28/09/2010, Ras Garib, Egypt, Michael Heiß
average juvenile in autumn, dark brown with rather slender wings with 5 long fingers and long tail


Western Marsh Harrier Circus a. aeruginosus, AD F
BIF1895, 08/04/2014, Leipzig, Germany, Mathias Putze
typical AD F with dark brown body and diagnostic yellow-ochre head-pattern, aged as AD by rather light iris and irregular trailing edge of wing (compare with 1CY in BIF1901)


Western Marsh Harrier Circus a. aeruginosus, AD F
BIF1894, 08/04/2014, Leipzig, Germany, Mathias Putze
same as BIF1895, rusty tail and contrasting and shoulder patches are further F features


Western Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus, AD F
BIF1896, 08/04/2014, Leipzig, Germany, Mathias Putze
same as BIF1894, AD F in spring can appear very chocolate brown and thus be difficult to separate from 2CY, aged as AD by good conditions of remiges and tail ad pale iris


Western Marsh Harrier Circus a. aeruginosus, AD F
BIF1899, 25/07/2013, Prignitz, Germany, Mathias Putze
active moult can cause an unusual silhouette, note different generations of remiges, aging of such F is difficult


Western Marsh Harrier Circus a. aeruginosus, AD M
BIF1886, 29/06/2010, Kiskunsági, Hungary, Mathias Putze
typical AD M with light underwings (including coverts and resolved trailing edge), black hand, streaked upper breast and grey head with yellow iris


Western Marsh Harrier Circus a. aeruginosus, AD M
BIF1887, 08/04/2014, Leipzig, Germany, Mathias Putze
AD M with completely brown body and underwing-coverts, grey secondaries und inner primaries with darker terminal band and JUV-like head -> could be mistaken for a very old F, but black fingers clearly indicate a male


Western Marsh Harrier Circus a. aeruginosus, AD M
BIF1890, 01/05/2013, Prignitz, Germany, Mathias Putze
similar to M in BIF1887, distinct dusky trailing edge indicates younger AD


Western Marsh Harrier Circus a. aeruginosus, AD M
BIF1888, 08/04/2014, Leipzig, Germany, Mathias Putze
sexed by grey tail and wing-pattern, probably older AD due to unicoloured silvery-grey outer underwing coverts


Western Marsh Harrier Circus a. aeruginosus, AD M
BIF1889, 08/04/2014, Leipzig, Germany, Mathias Putze
same as BIF1888, older AD upperside with strong contrast between brown body/inner wing coverts and silver-grey remiges/primary coverts and tail/uppertail coverts


Western Marsh Harrier Circus a. aeruginosus, AD M
BIF1891, 13/06/2013, Prignitz, Germany, Mathias Putze
when seen shortly or at higher altitude could be mistaken as M Hen Harrier, but note brown body


Western Marsh Harrier Circus a. aeruginosus, AD M
BIF1892, 08/05/2014, Demmin, Germany, Michael Heiß


Western Marsh Harrier Circus a. aeruginosus, 2 AD M
BIF1906, 01/05/2013, Prignitz, Germany, Mathias Putze
right bird straightforward identified as AD M, whereas the left bird could easily be mistaken as F but note greyish tail


Western Marsh Harrier Circus a. aeruginosus, AD M F
BIF1907, 01/05/2013, Prignitz, Germany, Mathias Putze
same as in BIF1906, from below both birds easily identified as M, upper bird with typical dark trailing edge of younger males


Western Marsh Harrier Circus a. aeruginosus  (right)
Short-eared Owl Asio f. flammeus
BIF1256, 23/09/2016, Besh Barmag, Azerbaijan, Michael Heiß
typical silhouette of a high circling bird

voice: usually nonvocal during migration

comparison species:
Booted Eagle (v)
Common Buzzard (v)
Black Kite (v)
Eastern Marsh Harrier (v)
Hen Harrier (v)

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