Hen Harrier

Circus cyaneus

Hen Harrier

Hen Harrier

Quick Facts


Scientific name:

Circus cyaneus


Kites, hawks and eagles

Conservation status:




44cm to 52cm


100cm to 120cm


300g to 600g

About the Hen Harrier

The hen harrier earned its name from once targeting free-range fowl for their prey. This comes with the downside of being the most intensively persecuted bird of prey in the UK. This is because of the effect the hen harrier has on the grouse population, particularly limiting the number available to shoot. This is especially a problem on the driven grouse moors of Scotland and England.

Female hen harriers and juveniles are brown, with white rumps and long, barred tails. Males are more of a light grey colour.

Whilst in flight, these birds of prey hold their wings in a shallow 'V' shape and glide low whilst searching for prey - this is mainly voles and meadow pipits.

What does a Hen Harrier eat?

Their diets mainly consist of mammals and small birds.

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Other birds in the Kites, hawks and eagles family

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