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Spotted Harrier hunting

(Circus assimilis)
Alternate name(s): "Jardine's Harrier", "Allied Harrier";
misnomers: "Spotted Swamp-hawk", "Smoke Hawk"

Size: 50-60 cm; wing span 1.2-1.45 m
Weight: 610 g (average)

Spotted Harriers (harriers in general) have a peculiar manner of hunting. They hover low above open grassland (including paddocks), then tip to one side and dive onto their prey. Their proximity gives the intended target very little time to react. The uplift required for such low flight (where they cannot make use of thermals) is provided by their enormous wings.

Frontal view of a Spotted Harrier in low, hovering flight
[Eulah Creek, NSW, July 2015]

Lateral view of a Spotted Harrier in low, hovering flight (note the fence in the background)
[Eulah Creek, NSW, July 2015]

Here the Spotted Harrier has pounced on its target (in this case the attempt failed)
[Eulah Creek, NSW, July 2015]

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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