Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus)

Northern Harrier
Northern Harrier, male - Newport Beach, CA
© Tom Benson
Northern Harrier
Northern Harrier, female - CSU San Bernardino
© Tom Benson

The Northern Harrier is a casual visitor to campus with seven records of wintering or migrating birds between November and April. It is a fairly common migrant and winter visitor in southern California, preferring open habitats such as marshes, grasslands, and agricultural areas.

The adult male Northern Harrier can be identified by its gray head and upperparts, black wing tips, and white rump and underparts. Females and immature males have dark brown upperparts, pale, brown-streaked underparts, and a white rump. Like owls, Northern Harriers hunt by sound, and at close range you may see its heart-shaped facial disk that helps it locate its prey.


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