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 of 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 JUV with diagnostic head-pattern
– upperwing with pale tips of greater and primary coverts
– note pale bases of primaries, shown by some individuals


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 to the 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 pale shoulder patches are typical F features


Western Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus, AD F
BIF1896, 08/04/2014, Leipzig, Germany, Mathias Putze
– same as BIF1894, some AD F in spring very chocolate brown and thus difficult to separate from 2CY
– aged as AD by good conditions of remiges and tail and 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
– 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 and JUV-like head
– underwing coverts buffish, distictly barred brown
– grey secondaries und inner primaries with darker terminal band
-> 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 uppersides strongly contrasting between brown body/inner wing coverts and silver-grey remiges/primary coverts and tail


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
– 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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