Northern Harrier

They can reach speeds of 25 Mph but prefer to soar low and slow.
Northern Harrier Scientific Classification
Scientific name
Circus Hudsonius
Northern Harrier Physical Characteristics
Brown, Grey, Black, White
up to 16 years
Top speed
25 mph
10 to 26 ounces
Northern Harrier Distribition

” They fly reduced to the ground, weaving via areas.”


The northern harrier ( Circus Hudsonius) is a tool- sized hawk belonging to the Americas, largely The United States and Canada. They populate marshes and meadows from Canada via Colombia, where they invest their time set down in trees, roosting on the ground in teams, or rising reduced over open areas. Discover every little thing regarding this remarkable raptor, consisting of where it lives, exactly how it acts, and what intimidates it.

5 Outstanding Northern Harrier Truths

  • Northern harriers are hawks with owl- like faces and sharp, addicted expenses.
  • They can get to rates of 25 Miles per hour however favor to rise reduced and slow-moving.
  • Their young are spirited and like to catch motionless things.
  • They roost in big teams. You will periodically locate them among owls.
  • Birds are their favored food.

Where to Locate the Northern Harrier

The northern harrier resides in over 30 nations in North and South America, consisting of Canada, the USA, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Colombia. They live as much north as Alaska and Northern Canada and as much southern as the northern idea of South America in Colombia and Venezuela. They populate every one of the USA, Mexico, and Central America. These raptors favor extensive uninterrupted marshes and meadows with a lot of reduced, thick plant life. You can locate them in marshes, fields, and areas in Canada and the United States. In their wintering areas, they populate seaside dunes, fields, tidewaters, floodplains, and marshes. To locate them, seek their v- designed wings as they gradually weave over open areas. You might additionally find them set down in trees or reduced articles.

Northern Harrier Nest

Males and females interact to create their nests, which might take numerous days to 2 weeks. They construct their nest on the ground in a glob of thick plant life utilizing dead yard, weeds, little branches, and reeds. They line the inside with sedges, hurries, and yard.

Scientific Name

The northern harrier ( Circus Hudsonius) comes from the Accipitriformes order, that includes diurnal predators. Its Accipitridae family consists of little to big birds with solid, addicted expenses with different diet plans. The genus, Circus, incorporates the harriers, which are diurnal hawks that fly reduced over open ground to quest. Circus is Old Greek for “circle.” Its particular epithet, Hudsonius, describes its kind region, “Hudson Bay.”

Dimension, Appearance & Actions

Northern Harrier
The Northern Harrier can get to rates of 25 Miles per hour however favor to rise reduced and slow-moving.Harry Collins Photography/Shutterstock. com

The northern harrier is a tool- sized raptor, gauging 16 to 20 inches long and considering 10 to 26 ounces, with a 38 to 48- inch wingspan. These predators have slim bodies, long, wide wings, and long, rounded tails. Their faces are owl- like, and they have reasonably little, addicted expenses. This species is quickly identifiable due to the fact that their wings make a v- form as they rise airborne. Grown-up male top bodies are grey, and their bottoms are white, with black wingtips and brownish and black banding. Females have brownish touches on the underparts of their bodies, and juveniles are brown with much less banding. All northern harriers have extremely obvious white rumps.

You will certainly frequently locate these harriers reduced to the ground as they weave over areas and marshes, seeking food. They can get to 25 Miles per hour however favor to skim the ground gradually. You might additionally see them quietly set down on articles and trees, evaluating their environments. Youthful harriers are spirited, frequently catching challenge exercise their searching abilities. This species is social and roosts in teams on the ground with its very own and frequently among brief- eared owls.

Movement Pattern and Timing

Northern harriers are citizens to lengthy- range travelers. Those in the Northern USA and Southern Canada normally remain in their atmospheres year- round due to the fact that it gives them with consistent sanctuary and food. Populaces that reproduce in Alaska, Northern, and Central Canada move southern to the USA, Mexico, Central America, and the northern idea of South America.


The northern harrier is a predator with a diverse diet depending upon place and season.

What Does the Northern Harrier Eat?

Northern harriers eat birds, reptiles, creatures, and amphibians throughout the springtime and summer season. In winter months, they eat voles, mice, shrews, rabbits, and songbirds. Birds are their favored target. They quest by flying slow-moving and reduced near the ground, seizing target from reduced, shrubby plant life. Juveniles largely eat insects.

Predators, Hazards, and Conservation Status

The IUCN details the northern harrier as LC or “least concern.” Because of its comprehensive array and reasonably- sized population, this species does not satisfy the limits for “endangered” standing. Their key risks consist of loss of their marsh and meadow environments and fragmentation from the farming sector.

What Consumes the Northern Harrier?

Their nest predators consist of coyotes, feral dogs, skunks, minks, raccoons, foxes, crows, ravens, and owls. Males and females protect their nests and area versus burglars. They have superb vision and hearing and fly reduced over burglars while offering a loud, sharp phone call to terrify them off.

Reproduction, Youthful, and Molting

The northern harrier reproducing period is from mid- March to very early April, lasting 120 to 135 days. Many are virginal, however some might join a polyandrous breeding period, where males mate with 2 to 5 females simultaneously. They create sets on their reproducing premises by doing courtship routines like airborne screens. Females lay one clutch per period, and each clutch consists of 4 to 6 eggs. Females nurture for 30 to 32 days, and males bring food. The young fledge the nest around 30 to 40 days however continue to be near to the nest for time. Northern harriers come to be sexually fully grown around one year and have a typical life expectancy of 7.8 years. Nonetheless, they can measure up to 16 years.


The northern harrier worldwide population is unidentified, however there do not seem any kind of severe variations or fragmentations in their numbers. Nonetheless, this species is undertaking a minor decline in The United States and Canada and has actually been for the last 40 years. The IUCN checklists this pattern as statistically irrelevant.

Similar Animals:


  1. Red List / BirdLife International, Available here:
  2. JSTOR / Journal of Animal Ecology Vol 55, Available here:
  3. Oxford Academic / The Condor Vol. 116, Available here:
  4. USDA Forest Service / Gary L. Slater, Ecostudies Institute, Available here:

Relate animals

Abyssinian Guinea Pig

They are one of the oldest breeds of guinea pig

Ackie Monitor

The ackie monitor has a spiny tail which it uses as in self-defense.


The Albertonectes had the longest neck out of other Elasmosaurids.

American Bully

Though the American bully was bred to look intimidating, it makes an extremely friendly family pet!

Latest Animal News