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6

Swamp Harrier

(Circus approximans)
Alternate name(s): "Marsh Harrier", "Gould's Harrier", "Swamp-hawk", "Wheat-hawk"
Aboriginal name(s): "djilyoordo" (WA)

Size: 50-60 cm; wing span 1.2-1.5 m
Weight: 0.5-0.7 kg (male), 0.7-1.0 kg (female)

Similar species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Swamp Harrier at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

ADULT

MALE

Near-dorsal view of a Swamp Harrier in flight; the general paleness of its plumage and the absence of barring on the tail characterize this bird as an old male (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Near Cape Banks, La Perouse, Sydney, NSW, December 2017]

Near-lateral view of a male Swamp Harrier in flight
[Macquarie Marshes NR, NSW, April 2017]

Lateral view of a male Swamp Harrier in flight; note the thin trailing edge on the underwing and the near-white leg feathers typical of a male
[Macquarie Marshes NR, NSW, April 2017]

FEMALE

Near-frontal view of a harrying female Swamp Harrier in flight; note the rufous leg feathers typical of a female
(photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Sandy Camp Wetlands, Lytton, QLD, September 2018]

Lateral view of a hovering Swamp Harrier in flight (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Ensay South, East Gippsland, VIC, November 2014]

Sex unknown

Near-frontal view of a Swamp Harrier in flight (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Ensay South, East Gippsland, VIC, November 2014]

Near-dorsal view of a Swamp Harrier in flight, probably an immature male moulting into adult plumage (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Ensay South, East Gippsland, VIC, November 2014]

Dorsal view of a Swamp Harrier in flight, showing clearly the characteristic white rump of an adult bird
[Macquarie Marshes NR, NSW, April 2017]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Two juvenile Swamp Harriers; one bird is just taking off, while the other is still sitting in the tree (lower left)
[Near Narrabri, NSW, March 2012]

Lateral view of a juvenile Swamp Harrier in flight (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Lake Omeo, Benambra, East Gippsland, VIC, February 2017]

Clear view of the underwing pattern of a juvenile Swamp Harrier in flight
[Hunter Wetlands NP, NSW, July 2013]

Dorsal view of a juvenile Swamp Harrier in flight
[Hunter Wetlands NP, NSW, December 2016]

Behaviour

Like all species of harriers, Swamp Harriers use a hunting technique called "harrying". An example of this technique is shown HERE.

Food, Diet

Adults: Birds, small mammals Dependents: As adults Water intake: None

All raptors are carnivores. Swamp Harriers prey on water birds and waders.

During the first few weeks, raptors feed their chicks with pieces of meat. Later on in their development, the chicks learn to tear apart their parents' prey.

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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